How Do I File for Divorce in Ohio?

Learn about the forms and procedures required to file for divorce in Ohio.

If you're facing an Ohio divorce, you probably have many questions. While the process might seem overwhelming, familiarizing yourself with the different types of divorce will help you navigate the legal system with more confidence. This article provides a general guide to divorce in Ohio.

Ohio Residency Requirements and Grounds for Divorce

To file for divorce in Ohio, at least one party must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing. Unlike most states, Ohio also requires that one spouse resides in the filing county for at least 90 days. (Ohio Rev Code § 3105.03 (2018).)

Ohio allows both fault-based and no-fault divorce. The majority of couples choose a no-fault divorce because it avoids assigning blame or delving into embarrassing facts. Instead, you can choose one of two no-fault grounds, which include:

  • living apart for at least one year, or
  • incompatibility.

Although rarely used, Ohio also provides an assortment of fault-based grounds, which include:

  • adultery
  • gross neglect of duty (failing to financially support your spouse)
  • bigamy
  • willful absence for at least one year
  • extreme cruelty
  • fraudulent contract
  • habitual drunkenness, and
  • imprisonment of the other spouse. (Ohio Rev Code § 3105.01 (2018).)

There is a second no-fault option available for Ohio couples who want to pursue a no-fault divorce and have agreed on all their property and custody issues, which is known as a dissolution of marriage. This type of divorce allows you to speed up the process and typically ends up saving both sides considerable money. You or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months, but you can file your case in any county. (Ohio Rev Code § 3105.08 (2018).)

Preparing Your Forms

To file a divorce in Ohio, you will need several forms. Ohio does not have a uniform list of domestic relations forms, so it's important to consult your specific county for a checklist of forms. At a minimum, you must file the following:

  • complaint for divorce
  • request for service
  • affidavit of income and expenses, and
  • affidavit of property.

Additionally, any Ohio case involving minor children must include a parenting proceeding affidavit, which requires the filing spouse to provide information about the child's residence for the preceding five years and a health insurance affidavit.

A dissolution of marriage involves the cooperation of both parties. If you choose to end your marriage via dissolution in Ohio, you must file the majority of your forms upfront, before the clerk assigns you a case number. Your dissolution must include the following documents:

  • petition for dissolution of marriage (including waiver of service of process)
  • financial disclosure statement (sometimes called an affidavit of income, expenses, and property)
  • affidavit of property
  • settlement agreement (also known as a separation agreement or divorce settlement agreement), and
  • judgment entry.

If you have minor children, your dissolution must also include the following documents and forms in addition to the ones above:

  • shared parenting plan (or sole custody agreement)
  • child support worksheet
  • parenting proceeding affidavit
  • health insurance affidavit
  • IV-D application (a form to enroll in child support services), and
  • health insurance affidavit.

Filing Your Forms

After you've gathered all the required forms, you must file them with the clerk of court in the county where you wish to proceed. To pursue a dissolution of marriage, you must attach your settlement agreement to your petition as an exhibit. If you have minor children, you must also include your shared parenting plan in your initial filing.

Serving Your Spouse

Ohio law requires that the filing spouse serve the other side with copies of all divorce documents. You can accomplish service through certified mail, registered mail, private process service, or sheriff's service. If you don't know your spouse's current whereabouts, you can also publish notice of the divorce in your local newspaper.

There is no service requirement in dissolution cases, as both spouses go into the case with full knowledge of the process and an agreement regarding all the issues. They also waive their right to service of process of the petition itself. Once you've filed your petition and all relevant forms, the court will automatically schedule a final hearing between 30 and 90 days from the date of filing.

Financial Disclosures

Ohio law requires both spouses to make a complete disclosure of all income, assets, and debts. Some counties have their own unique pretrial statement forms that incorporate financial disclosures.

In a majority of counties, spouses can exchange financial information via an affidavit of income, expenses, and property, which both sides must fill out and exchange with one another. If you opt for a dissolution, you must file your financial affidavit along with the rest of your initial paperwork.

Resources

For more information on the Ohio divorce process, visit The Supreme Court of Ohio website.

You can also visit the Ohio State Legal Services Association for information and resources available in your area.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Considering Divorce?

Talk to a Divorce attorney.

We've helped 85 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you