How Much Will My Divorce Cost in Ohio?

The costs you need to consider when getting a divorce in Ohio.

Divorce can be expensive – you have to consider court costs and fees for attorneys, process servers and experts, such as appraisers, accountants, and estate planners. While it's impossible to predict how much your divorce will cost, this article provides an overview of the divorce process and how you may be able to keep your expenses down.

Who Can File for Divorce in Ohio?

In Ohio, the spouse requesting a divorce has to be a resident of the state for at least six months before filing.

Do I Need Grounds for Divorce in Ohio?

"Grounds" refers to the reasons for your divorce. Technically, you always need to list something as your "grounds for divorce" when you file your divorce paperwork. However, you can choose between "fault" grounds, where you accuse your spouse of doing something bad that led to the divorce, or "no-fault" grounds, where you tell the court that you and your spouse simply grew apart, and there is no chance for reconciliation.

What Are the No-Fault and Fault Grounds for Divorce in Ohio?

There are two types of no fault grounds in Ohio:

  • incompatibility, and
  • a one year separation without cohabitation.

There are several fault-based grounds, including:

  • adultery
  • extreme cruelty
  • bigamy
  • desertion for one year
  • habitual drunkenness
  • neglect, and
  • imprisonment.

Is It Better If I Use Fault Grounds for Divorce?

Selecting fault grounds doesn't necessarily help you in Ohio, and it can actually make your divorce more difficult. If you pursue a fault divorce, based on your spouse's adultery for example, and your spouse denies it, you will have to prove to a judge that your spouse cheated.

Proving adultery may require the use of a private investigator and it will certainly require an experienced trial attorney, who knows the legal rules of evidence and other technical trial procedures. It is often much simpler and cheaper to file for a no-fault divorce.

How Much Will My Divorce Cost?

The exact cost of your divorce will depend on the specifics of your case. Some of the factors that may increase the costs of your divorce include the following:

  • the legal and factual complexity of your case (the more assets there are to divide, the more time it will take to divide them, and the more complicated the facts of your case are, the more time it will take to analyze them)
  • whether you have children (custody battles and a child support analysis can certainly increase the costs of a divorce, especially when spouses can't agree on these issues with one another)
  • whether or not you and your spouse are willing and able to communicate effectively and settle any of your divorce-related issues outside of court (the more contentious you are toward one other, the less likely it will be that you can resolve your case and avoid an expensive court battle), and
  • whether the attorneys in your case are competent and reasonable (unreasonable attorneys may be more likely to head to court and drive up the costs of litigation).

Can We Reach a Marital Settlement Agreement out of Court?

Whether you are able to reach a settlement agreement outside of court is going to depend on your ability to decide issues of property division and custody with your spouse. Ohio encourages parents to arrive at a settlement agreement regarding custody and child support outside of court, which the court will then formalize upon granting the divorce.

What Happens if We Can't Agree on Settlement Terms?

If you are not able to agree on settlement terms, you may wish to use a mediator. Many courts in Ohio actually require divorcing parties to try mediation. When you elect to use mediation, fees for hiring the mediator start at around $150 an hour.

If you are able to resolve most or all of your issues through mediation, you will certainly have decreased the costs of your divorce. But mediation can save you money even if you're only able to resolve one issue outside of court, because paying an attorney and his or her team to represent you at trial is almost sure to cost you more than $150 per hour.

Getting Help

Divorce is emotionally stressful and legally complicated. If you're going through a divorce in Ohio, you should consider talking to a family law attorney who can guide you through the process. A lawyer can advise you about your responsibilities and help ensure that your rights are protected.