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.
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:
Although rarely used, Ohio also provides an assortment of fault-based grounds, which include:
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).)
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:
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:
If you have minor children, your dissolution must also include the following documents and forms in addition to the ones above:
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.
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.
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.
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.