How Do I File For Divorce In Ohio?
A listing of the Clerk of Courts and the Domestic Relations Courts for the various Counties in Ohio and links to their websites are included in this website. Court costs will vary from County to County and whether there are minor children.
RESIDENCY IN OHIO: You or your spouse must be a resident of the State of Ohio for six months prior to the filing of an Ohio Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or prior to the filing of a Complaint for Divorce. Residency in a county should be for at least 90 days but two parties can mutually consent to the case being heard in another county in a Dissolution of Marriage. For those individuals who have resided less than 6 months in Ohio, divorce papers can be prepared but they cannot be filed prior to the six month residency requirement.
Attorney Ruskan will prepare the appropriate divorce forms for filing either an Ohio Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or a Complaint for Divorce (which will be an uncontested divorce when your spouse signs the appropriate papers).
In an Ohio Dissolution of Marriage proceeding, the following are required:
The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. It sets forth: the name and addresses of the parties; the date and place of the marriage; the names and dates of birth of any minor children of the parties and whether the wife is now pregnant; that a party has lived in the State of Ohio for more than six months prior to the filing of the petition; that there has been residency in the County for 90 days or that the parties have agreed to the case being heard in that County; that neither party is in the active duty of military service or if they are in active duty that they have signed a waiver authorizing the case to proceed to final hearing without delay; that the parties wish to have their marriage dissolved; and that the parties wish to have the Court adopt the Separation Agreement of the parties as the terms of the divorce.
Waivers of Service of Summons. (The Clerk of Courts does not have to serve the parties with formal notice and copies of the divorce papers.)
The Separation Agreement setting forth the terms of the divorce (including all property, assets and debts of the parties).
Some courts require the filing of an Affidavit of Income, Assets and Liabilities and an Affidavit of Property.
For the final divorce hearing-- Judgment Entry for Dissolution of Marriage.
Where there are minor children the following additional documents are needed:
- The Parenting Plan (Parenting Time Schedule); or a Shared Parenting Plan if shared parenting is preferred rather than custody to one parent.
- The Ohio Child Support Computation Worksheet that sets forth the income of the parties, the number of children and the amount of child support if any (required even if there is no child support).
- The Medical and Child Support Forms of the Court which set forth the standard requirements of the Court for child support and medical coverage.
- The UCCJA Affidavit as to the residency of the children for the past five years.
- A Medical Insurance Affidavit as to whether private health insurance is available to each parent and if so, at what cost.
- The CSEA (Child Support Enforcement Agency) Form requesting the services of the CSEA and giving the CSEA certain information about the parents and the children (required even if there is no child support).
II. In an Uncontested Divorce in Ohio:
- The Complaint for Divorce. It sets forth: the name and addresses of the parties (the party filing for the divorce being the Plaintiff and the spouse being the Defendant); the date and place of the marriage; the names and dates of birth of any minor children of the parties and whether the wife is now pregnant; that the Plaintiff has lived in the State of Ohio for more than six months prior to the filing of the complaint; that there has been residency in the County for 90 days; that the Plaintiff is seeking a divorce, usually upon the basis of incompatibility or living separate from their spouse for more than one year (or other grounds such as gross neglect of duty and extreme cruelty- which are normally not used in uncontested divorces); and what the Plaintiff is seeking—for example a reasonable division of the marital property, the allocation of parental rights regarding any minor children, child support, spousal support etc.
- A Waiver to be signed by the Defendant acknowledging receipt of the divorce papers and consenting to the matter being set for final uncontested divorce.
- The Separation Agreement setting forth the terms of the divorce (including all property, assets and debts of the parties).
- Some courts require the filing of an Affidavit of Income, Assets and Liabilities and an Affidavit of Property.
- For the final divorce hearing-- Judgment Entry: Decree of Divorce.
- If there are minor children there will also have to be a Parenting Plan, a Ohio Child Support Computation Worksheet, Medical and Child Support Forms, a UCCJA Affidavit, a Medical Insurance Affidavit, and a CSEA form as there is in the Dissolution of Marriage (explained above).
THE FINAL HEARING FOR DIVORCE IN AN OHIO DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE OR IN AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE IN OHIO
What happens when you go to Court for your final hearing for divorce? The procedure of course can vary and depend upon the individual judge. But here is a common checklist for cases of an Ohio Dissolution of Marriage or for an Uncontested Divorce in Ohio:
Introductory Questions: The Parties and the Jurisdiction of the Court
- What is your name and address?
- What is the name of your spouse and the date and place of your marriage?
- Are there any minor children of the marriage and if so what are their dates of birth?
- Is the wife pregnant with child now?
- Have you been a resident of the County for more than 90 days and a resident of the State of Ohio for more than six months prior to the filing of the divorce?
The Terms of the Divorce: A Separation Agreement usually is used to set forth all the terms of the divorce.
- Have you made a complete disclosure of all of your assets and liabilities to your spouse and has your spouse made a complete disclosure of all of their assets and liabilities to you?
- Do you feel that you understand all the terms of the Separation Agreement?
- Is fair to you? Is it fair to your spouse?
The Judge may ask you to explain what is in your Separation Agreement—the main thing is that it is a fair division of your assets and your debts. A Court will especially be interested in the income of each party and any real estate or retirement accounts.
Where There Are Children: The Parenting Plan For The Children
Do you understand the parenting plan for your children? (This is usually attached to the Separation Agreement and sets forth the rights and responsibilities of the parents relative to the minor children, including custody or shared parenting, companionship and visitation, child support and medical coverage.)
Is the parenting plan in the best interests of your children?
That You Want To Be Divorced
- In an Ohio Dissolution of Marriage, both parties must attend the final hearing and both will be asked something like this:
- Are you unable to resolve your differences?
- Is there any hope of reconciliation?
- Do you want to be divorced today?
- In an Uncontested Divorce in Ohio, only the Plaintiff has to attend the final hearing and the basis of the divorce is usually Incompatibility and/or One Year Separation. Example:
- Are you and your spouse incompatible?
- Is there any hope of reconciliation?
- Do you want to be divorced today?
- (When you have lived apart for more than one year) Have you lived separate and apart from your spouse for more than one year prior to the filing of the divorce?
In the Uncontested Divorce one or two witnesses (depending on the local court) will verify the basis for the divorce. The witnesses can be any adult friend, relative or person who knows that the parties are incompatible or that the parties have lived separate and apart for more than one year.