Husband lives in Ohio, I live in Arizona. Received notice of pre-trial hearing before receiving copy of divorce complaint via certified mail (he wanted me to sign a waiver of service and I think he assumed I would do so and had his lawyer proceed on that assumption).
According to Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure 76 (J), "no action for divorce.. may be heard and decided until expiration of 42 day after service of process" - does the 42 days start when complaint is mailed or after I signed for the papers, thus perfecting service? Due to health and financial issues, there is no way I can attend a hearing in Ohio two weeks from now. I have concerns about the separation agreement and get the feeling he is trying to take advantage of my health and financial state to push the divorce through, as he has informed me via electronic communication that the divorce will be final at said hearing.
I do not feel this is legal, also given my understanding that I have 28 days after perfection of service to respond (it has been 4 days since I signed for the papers) - am I correct in my assumption? I have been trying to get through to the courthouse the past two days to ask about a continuance but have not been able to get through yet (Carroll County, OH) and am concerned as to time limits requesting a continuance.
Additionally, he informed me, also via electronic communication, that he was making changes to his health insurance during open enrollment (employer provided health insurance) that would result in the termination of my health insurance on January 1st. His open enrollment period started about a month after he filed the divorce complaint at the courthouse and ended Dec. 1st. It is my understanding according to Ohio Revised Code 3015.7 that it is completely illegal for him to terminate my health insurance while divorce proceedings are in progress - does this also apply to making changes during the proceedings that would result in said coverage being terminated after the divorce is finalized (assuming his confidence that the divorce will be finalized at the pre-trial hearing mentioned above)? I am also unclear as to whom I notify or how I go about addressing this issue - this is a matter of extreme importance as, due to the nature of my health issues, I will likely suffer irreversible damages to my health without insurance.
He has an attorney, as of yet I do not - part of the settlement agreement he/his lawyer drafted states I am responsible for paying my own legal fees, which he well knows I can not afford - I am hoping to find an attorney willing to take on my case contingent on petitioning for him to be responsible for my legal fees with the hopes that will be successful if, indeed, he is in violation of the laws pertaining to removing a spouse from health insurance during an active divorce case.
Rule 75 on the 42 days is after you get served. The health insurance is http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3105.71. You need to get an attorney now. If you wait around while they put together agreements and do nothing, you potentially will run out of time. Not sure but I think Kingston is in the next county over from here. Get a local Ohio attorney.
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Best bet is to get one soon then. Avvo has a terrific "find a lawyer" tool to find a top-rated Avvo attorney.
The act which commences a legal action is service. To determine if you have been served by a method other than certified mail or a personal process server, you may wish to check the electronic docket, a public resource in Ohio, at the Office of the Clerk of Courts in the Ohio County the divorce is filed in. Sometimes, a party may act in bad faith, pretend not to know where you are, and serve by publication. Beware. Also, since the action is filed, under the local rules of Court in nearly every Ohio County, he cannot remove you from health insurance. To do so is an act of Contempt of Court under the correct circumstances. However--you need local counsel to protect your rights. Don't wait. Good L:uck.
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