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DIVORCE IN Ohio - YOUR COMPLETE STARTER GUIDE

Last updated: June 04, 2019
divorce in Ohio
Couples seeking divorce in Ohio will find that knowledge is your most valuable asset. The better informed you are, the easier it will be to navigate the ins and outs of the legal system with less risk of expensive, time-consuming errors. Divorce laws vary from state to state, making it very important to ensure familiarity with specific rules and regulations for divorcing in Ohio.

How Long does an Ohio Divorce Take?

The amount of time required for Ohio divorce proceedings varies from one case to the next. It can take weeks or months to negotiate before a hearing can take place, and if issues are contested, court proceedings can drag on for longer than a year. The minimum time frame for an Ohio dissolution is 90 days from the date of filing.

Couples considering divorce or dissolution of marriage are encouraged to seek legal counsel, as mistakes can greatly increase the amount of time it takes for Ohio divorce to finalize. With a lawyer’s help, matters are handled as quickly as possible.

What are the Residency Requirements for Ohio Divorce?

When seeking a dissolution in Ohio, at least one spouse must have resided in the state for six months before filing. Additionally, at least one spouse must be a resident of the county where the dissolution is filed for at least 90 days prior to the filing date.

When seeking divorce in Ohio, the spouse who is filing the complaint must be a resident of the state for six months before filing, and must be a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days prior to the date of filing.

The court may make exceptions to the residency requirements in cases that involve domestic violence. Authorities recommend obtaining a Civil Protection Order (CPO) when domestic violence is occurring. This should be obtained as quickly as possible to speed the process of filing, and police are able to provide additional assistance to parties who have CPOs.
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What are the Grounds for Divorce in Ohio?

Ohio grounds for divorce are:

  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Fraudulent inducement to marry
  • Extreme cruelty or abuse
  • Gross neglect
  • Habitual intoxication 
  • Imprisonment of the Defendant in a state or federal correctional facility; party must be incarcerated at the time the Plaintiff files for divorce
  • Incompatibility 
  • An out of state divorce failed to release one of the parties from obligations of marriage
  • Living separately and apart without cohabitation for one year, without interruption
  • Willful abandonment / absence for more than one year
When filing for divorce in Ohio, parties are generally required to present at least one witness to corroborate or support testimony concerning the grounds for divorce. A corroborating witness is someone who can testify to the court that they know you, and that they have witnessed the actions, neglect, etc. that you are using as grounds for divorce.

Ohio Dissolution and Divorce Proceedings

Ohio is unique in that spouses can choose to have a divorce or a dissolution of marriage. Ohio also offers legal separation and annulment.

Ohio Dissolution Proceedings

An Ohio dissolution of marriage is similar to a mutual, uncontested divorce. In dissolution of marriage, both spouses agree that the marriage has come to an end. There is no need to prove grounds when filing for an amicable dissolution of marriage. The process of dissolution is fairly simple and straightforward:
  1. Both spouses sign a Form 16 (Separation Agreement) outlining disposition of property and debt, child support and child custody if applicable, and spousal support if applicable. Additional forms to complete before filing include:
    • Form 1 (Affidavit of Income and Expenses)
      Form 2 (Affidavit of Property)
  • Form 15 (Judgement Entry) – Check with local court to determine if this is required
  • The spouses jointly file a Form 14 (Petition for Dissolution) in the Court of Common Pleas 
  • If filing a Dissolution with Children, spouses must normally complete the following forms and present them at the time of filing:
    • Form 3 (Parenting Proceeding Affidavit)
    • Form 4 (Health Insurance Affidavit)
    • Form 17 (Shared Parenting Plan) or Form 18 (Parenting Plan)
  • A hearing date will be set. The date will depend on court and personal scheduling, but the case must be heard within 90 days of the date of filing.
  • Both spouses appear at the hearing, where the court determines that all assets, liabilities, spousal support issues, and child support issues are covered, and confirms that both parties are satisfied with the terms outlined in the settlement. If the court is satisfied, the judge will grant a dissolution, at which point the Separation Agreement becomes a court order. The dissolution is final at the time of signing.
  • If either party disagrees with the Separation Agreement or decides that he or she no longer wishes to end the marriage, the court may not proceed with the dissolution. The other spouse then has the option of filing a motion requesting that the dissolution be converted to divorce.

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    Ohio Divorce Proceedings

    As in other states, Ohio divorce is a civil proceeding that ends marriage. Where dissolution is the non-contested “no fault” version of divorce in this state, divorce may be considered a “fault” or “no fault” method of ending marriage. In order to file for divorce, either party must prove grounds, and the other party may file a counterclaim with grounds of his or her own. It is important to note that fault can impact issues surrounding the divorce including alimony, child custody and/or visitation, and the division of assets/debts. No fault divorce grounds include incompatibility and/or living apart for one year or more.

    To File for Divorce Without Children, the Plaintiff Should Take the Following Steps:

    • Complete a Form 6 (Complaint for Divorce without Children)
    • Complete DR Form 28/Juvi Form 10 (Request for Service)
    • Complete Form 1 (Affidavit of Income and Expenses)
    • Complete Form 2 (Affidavit of Property)
    • File the forms at the Court of Common Pleas
    • If needed, complete a Form 5 (Motion and Affidavit or Counter Affidavit for Temporary Orders)
    The court will advise the Plaintiff of methods for serving the Defendant with divorce papers; usually, service by certified mail or personal service by a private process server or sheriff is recommended. In the event that the Defendant cannot be located, the court will allow alternative service. 
    When the Defendant has been served, he or she will need to take the following steps:
    • Complete a Form 9 (Answer to Complaint for Divorce)
    • Complete Form 1 (Affidavit of Income and Expenses)
    • Complete Form 2 (Affidavit of Property)
    • If needed, complete a Form 8 (Counterclaim for Divorce)
    • If needed, complete a Form 5 (Motion and Affidavit or Counter Affidavit for Temporary Orders)
    • File all forms at the Court of Common Pleas
    The parties and/or their lawyers should then work to reach an agreement, after which a Form 16 (Separation Agreement) should be completed and presented to the court. 
    To finalize the divorce case after all hearings have been scheduled and taken place, the parties may need to provide a Form 11 (Judgement Entry). 
    Local courts may require additional documentation on a case by case basis. Parties should check with their local Court of Common Pleas to determine how best to move forward.
    To file for divorce with children, the Plaintiff should take the following steps:
    • Complete a Form 7 (Complaint for Divorce with Children)
    • Complete a Form 3 (Parenting Procedures Affidavit)
    • Complete DR Form 28/Juvi Form 10 (Request for Service)
    • Complete Form 1 (Affidavit of Income and Expenses)
    • Complete Form 2 (Affidavit of Property)
    • Complete Form 4 (Health Insurance Affidavit)
    • File the forms at the Court of Common Pleas
    • If needed, complete a Form 5 (Motion and Affidavit or Counter Affidavit for Temporary Orders)
    The court will advise the Plaintiff of methods for serving the Defendant with divorce papers; usually, personal service or service by certified mail is recommended. In the event that the Defendant cannot be located, the court will allow alternative service. 

    When the Defendant has been served, he or she will need to take the following steps:
    • Complete a Form 10 (Answer to Complaint for Divorce with Children)
    • Complete Form 1 (Affidavit of Income and Expenses)
    • Complete Form 2 (Affidavit of Property)
    • Complete Form 4 (Health Insurance Affidavit)
    • If needed, complete a Form 8 (Counterclaim for Divorce)
    • If needed, complete a Form 5 (Motion and Affidavit or Counter Affidavit for Temporary Orders)
    • File all forms at the Court of Common Pleas
    The parties and/or their lawyers should then work to reach an agreement, after which a Form 16 (Separation Agreement) should be completed and presented to the court. Additionally, the court requires a Form 17 (Shared Parenting Plan) or a Form 18 (Parenting Plan).

    To finalize the divorce case after all hearings have been scheduled and taken place, the parties may need to provide a Form 12 (Judgement Entry). 

    Local courts may require additional documentation on a case by case basis. Parties should check with their local Court of Common Pleas to determine how best to move forward. 

    In all Ohio divorces the court will take all testimony into account when deciding how to provide a divorce judgement. Some of the most common issues considered during the judgement phase include:
    • The grounds for divorce
    • Child-related issues including custody, child support, and/or visitation
    • Alimony
    • The division of all marital assets in an equitable fashion, including real estate, personal property, financial assets, retirement accounts, and pensions
    • The division of debts
    Parties have the option of converting a divorce into a dissolution at any time prior to entry of the final divorce judgement. This is accomplished by filing a motion with the court, and should contain a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

    Cost of Divorce in Ohio

    Ohio divorce costs vary from about $4,000 to $27,000. Using these figures, the average cost is a little over $12,000. If children are involved, the cost of divorce tends to be higher; additionally, property division and alimony issues can contribute to increased costs. The basic cost of filing for divorce in Ohio varies by county, with fees ranging from approximately $200 to $400. The court may charge additional fees for motions, appeals, parental investigation, and more. The cost of divorce or dissolution with children is typically higher than the price of divorce or dissolution without children.

    Ohio Divorce Rate

    According to the Ohio Department of Health, the divorce rate was 58.1 percent in 2011. This is the most recent Ohio divorce statistic available in 2018.

    Divorce Lawyers in Ohio

    Although you may opt to represent yourself for an amicable divorce with simple circumstances, Ohio lawyers offer insight and expertise in dealing with complicated matters and ensuring that each party receives his or her fair share of property. Here is a list of divorce lawyers in Ohio who can walk you through the process as smoothly as possible.

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    Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice on any subject matter. Consult with an attorney for more information regarding your individual situation.

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