When couples get married it is supposed to be forever. Unfortunately the reality is that many marriages do not survive and end up in divorce. Not every couple has to go through a nasty split. Some couples are able to have an amicable parting of ways and can either agree on an uncontested divorce or can jointly file for a dissolution of marriage.
The Dissolution of Marriage
In a dissolution of marriage, husband and wife jointly petition the court to dissolve their marriage according to terms which have been mutually agreed upon. Both must attend the final hearing.
Before you can file the dissolution of marriage forms Ohio you need to make sure that residency requirements are met. Either spouse must be a resident of the State of Ohio for six months and a resident of the county where the case is filed for ninety days before the filing.
A Separation Agreement which deals with all of the property, assets and debts of the parties is drawn up. It is signed by the parties in front of a notary (either separately or together before a notary). Copies of the signed original are made. The Separation Agreement must be included with the papers which are filed with the Clerk of Courts. These include a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, and Waivers so that the parties do not have to be formally served with papers by the Clerk of Courts.
If there are minor children, a Parenting Plan is agreed upon. This can be custody to one parent with parenting time (what used to be called visitation) to the other parent, or a Shared Parenting Plan where both parents are the residential and custodial parent and a rough schedule of parenting time is agreed upon.
In a dissolution of marriage, there will be a final hearing no less than 30 days and no more than 90 days after the petition is filed. Paperwork is reviewed by a member of the court staff to make sure that it is done correctly and that all necessary forms and documents have been completed. If everything is correct, the matter will be set for final hearing. At the final hearing, the Judge (or Magistrate if the Judge assigns the case to a Magistrate) will review the paperwork and ask questions of the husband and wife. If the Judge is certain that the parties want their marriage to be dissolved, and that the terms of the Separation Agreement are fair and equitable, the Judge will sign the Judgment Entry of Dissolution of Marriage and the marriage will be legally terminated.
The Uncontested Divorce
In an uncontested divorce the Plaintiff (the one filing for divorce) must be a resident of the State of Ohio for six months before the case is filed. Either spouse must be a resident of the county where the case is filed for at least ninety days before filing.
In an uncontested divorce only the Plaintiff must attend the final hearing. An uncontested divorce is commonly used when one party is unable to attend the final hearing or just does not want to attend the final hearing. An uncontested divorce is also used where husband and wife have not separated at the time of filing and hence are unable to file a dissolution of marriage which requires separation.
A witness must also attend the final hearing. This can be any adult, friend or family member who will vouch for the fact that the parties are incompatible or that they have lived separate and apart for more than one year. (If both spouses attend the final hearing a witness is not required.)
There are several required divorce forms in Ohio. The Complaint for divorce sets forth: the name and address of the parties; the date and place of marriage; the Ohio residency of six months of the Plaintiff which is required for the court to have jurisdiction; that one of the parties has lived for at least 90 days in the county where the case is filed; whether there are any children of the parties, the dates of birth of any minor children, and whether the wife is now pregnant; that neither party is in the active duty of military service, or if in military service has signed a waiver so that the case can proceed without delay; and what is being sought by the Plaintiff- divorce, reasonable property division, the allocation of parental rights and child support (if wanted) if there are minor children of the parties, spousal support (if wanted), restoration of maiden name (if wanted).
A Separation Agreement is usually used which deals with all of the property, assets and debts of the parties. If a Separation Agreement is not used, all the terms of the divorce including all property, assets and debts must be dealt with in the final Judgment Entry for Divorce. If there are minor children, a Parenting Plan is agreed upon. This can be custody to one parent with parenting time (what used to be called visitation) to the other parent, or a Shared Parenting Plan where both parents are the residential and custodial parent and a rough schedule of parenting time is agreed upon.
There will be a final hearing in an uncontested no less than 42 days after the case is filed. The second spouse usually signs a Waiver of Service so that they do not have to be formally served with papers by the Clerk of Courts and the case may be set much quicker for final hearing. At the final hearing the Judge makes sure that the Plaintiff wants to be divorced and that the terms of the divorce are fair and equitable. The Judge signs a Judgment Entry for Divorce which sets forth the terms of divorce and terminates the marriage.
In either a Dissolution of Marriage or an Uncontested Divorce, there is no discussion of the marital problems of the parties or getting into grounds such as gross neglect of duty, cruelty, abandonment etc. The ending of a marriage can be difficult, but it does not have to be accompanied by a costly, nasty, and lengthy divorce proceeding.