How To File Your Own Divorce
Lawyers can be expensive. You can file your own divorce or dissolution of marriage papers in Ohio. This can sometimes be a frustrating process to do all the forms and papers correctly.
The Court Will Check Your Papers
Since there has been a great increase in the number of people filing their papers “pro se” or representing themselves, courts have set up procedures to review paperwork.
Some counties require that pro se papers be approved by a member of the court staff before they are allowed to be filed with the clerk of courts. Others require that papers be approved before the final hearing.
A judge will not hear a case unless it is verified that all papers have been properly prepared and that all required forms have been completed. The case must be ready for final hearing.
The Initial Requirement of Residency
In a Dissolution of Marriage, one of the parties must be a resident of Ohio for at least six months before the case is filed. One of the parties has been a resident for more than 90 days in the county where the case is filed.
In a Complaint for Divorce, the Plaintiff must be a resident of Ohio for at least six months before the case is filed. Either party has been a resident for more than 90 days in the county where the case is filed. A Plaintiff who lives out of state cannot file a Complaint for Divorce.
In the case of a person who lives in Ohio but not for the required six months, papers can be prepared but not filed before the six months is up. As an alternative, a person can file for a legal separation and later convert the case to a divorce after the six month residency.
Where Do I File?
Where the parties were married is not important, it is where they reside which determines where the case is filed.
In cases where there are minor children, it is best to file in the county where the children reside. If children reside out of state, the court may not have jurisdiction over the children and issues of custody and support, depending on the length of time that the children have lived out of state, but the Ohio court can still grant a divorce.
What Do I File?
Should My Papers be Notarized?
Many judges require that papers be notarized, and since required Affidavits must always be notarized, it is a safer practice to just have all documents notarized. You should make the number of copies your county requires after they have been signed and notarized. The one exception to this is the final Judgment Entry for Dissolution of Marriage or the final Judgment Entry for Divorce which is not notarized.
Court costs are paid when the case is filed. The amount varies by county and sometimes is different whether a dissolution or divorce is being filed, and whether or not there are minor children.
If you have no income or assets you can get the Court to waive court costs by filing an Affidavit of Poverty.
The Final Hearing
How A Lawyer Can Help
A lawyer can help with the preparation of papers and make sure that they are right and done according to your wishes. If you file your own divorce and go to the final hearing yourself, you can save a great deal of money but have the lawyer to help you with the process.
Attorney Ruskan provides information about your county, what documents should be initially filed with the Clerk of Courts and what documents are for the final hearing. He tries to explain the process of preparing and filing papers and what to expect at the final hearing for divorce or dissolution of marriage.
Attorney Ruskan specializes in preparing dissolution and divorce papers for clients who are filing their own papers and want to greatly reduce the cost but still have the benefits of a lawyer interviewing the client, answering questions, and preparing papers.
It is easy to have an initial consultation at no cost. Just fill out and submit the form below.
If You Wish To Call or Have An Appointment
Attorney Ruskan is available by telephone usually every weekday evening from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. He is also available by appointment weekday mornings from 8:00 am to 9:00 am. If you wish to discuss your case, call 440-499-6633. There is no fee for the initial consultation.
Interview appointments can be made during these hours, but Attorney Ruskan can accommodate you if your work schedule makes it impossible to do either an evening or an early morning appointment.
Attorney Ruskan is available should any question arise during or after the preparation of dissolution or divorce papers. If your court should have any issue with your case, just contact him by phone or email.
Peace of Mind
For peace of mind there is no substitute for the advice and assistance of a trained and experienced Ohio Divorce Lawyer. And at a reasonable cost!