Understanding the Ohio divorce process

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2020 | divorce |

Ohio law allows couples to seek either uncontested or fault-based divorce. If you do not have children or own property with your spouse, you may not even need to go to court. 

Explore the state’s divorce process so you know what to expect before making this life-changing decision. 

Uncontested divorce in Ohio 

If you and your spouse agree to a divorce and have lived in Ohio for at least six months, you can file for a no-fault (uncontested) divorce. You must both sign the Ohio Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and submit it to the county court where at least one of you lives. 

If you have children, marital assets or marital debt, you must include a separation agreement with financial disclosures and details about how you plan to divide shared property and debts. Attachments to this document must include a parenting proceeding affidavit, shared parenting plan and child support worksheet where applicable. 

Fault-based divorce in Ohio 

State law allows fault-based divorce in cases in which a spouse abandoned his or her spouse for at least one year, chronically uses substances, withheld financial support or spousal duty, entered the marriage in bad faith, and/or committed adultery, imprisonment, bigamy or abuse. 

To seek a fault-based divorce on these grounds, you should petition for divorce in the county where you live. Include your plans for dividing property and debt, receiving spousal support and arranging child custody and support if you have children. The party filing for divorce must deliver the petition to the other spouse through a private process server, sheriff service, or either certified or registered mail. 

Regardless of your desired type of divorce, the court will notify you of your hearing date after receiving your petition. You and your spouse must attend, answer the judge’s questions and present evidence to support your position if necessary. 

Hearings usually take place within 90 days of the filing. When issues remain in contest at the hearing, the judge may order mediation before issuing a divorce decree.