Ohio Divorce & Separation
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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021
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Is there a residency requirement for obtaining a divorce in Ohio? What are the requirements for getting an Ohio divorce? Do you have to specify your reasons (or “grounds”) for wanting a divorce? Will you have to go through mediation before you can get an Ohio divorce? What is the law on Ohio annulments? Answers to your Ohio divorce questions are here.
Ohio Legal Separation:
A legal separation in Ohio does not end a marriage. You may not enter into a new marriage if you are legally separated. In Ohio, you may file for a legal separation with the Court of Common Pleas for your county. Whether or not you are legally separated from your spouse could have an impact on the division of property, finances and debts. See Dividing Up Property in a Divorce: Community Property vs. Equitable Distribution. For more information about the differences between divorce, separation and annulment, see Ending a Marriage or Taking a Break.
Grounds for Divorce/Fault | No Fault:
Ohio allows no-fault divorce actions when the spouses have been separated for a year without cohabitation. For more information about what that means, see The Divorce Process: From Separation to Final Judgment. Your grounds (or reasons) for wanting a divorce are set out in a document called a complaint that you file with the Court of Common Pleas for your county. Once the judgment for divorce is granted (i.e. the judge approves your divorce), you will become an unmarried person again. Appropriate grounds for divorce in Ohio are:
1) irreconcilable differences,
3) abandonment (for 1 year),
5) extreme cruelty,
7) gross neglect of duty,
8) habitual drunkenness, or
9) imprisonment at time of complaint.
Residency/Where to File for Divorce:
One of the parties to the marriage must have been a resident of the state for six months preceding the filing. You will file your paperwork with the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which you or your ex-spouse resides. The County Clerk’s office of the Court of Common Pleas and his or her assistants will be managing your paperwork with the court. See Ohio Divorce Laws & Resources for information on how to contact your local Court of Common Pleas.
Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:
In most states, a dissolution of marriage and a divorce are different names for the same thing. But in Ohio, a dissolution is a procedure where the spouses reach a separation agreement regarding property, spousal support, and all issues about children, before they file an action for divorce. When the agreement is finalized, they file a joint Petition for Dissolution in the Court of Common Pleas and receive a hearing within 90 days of filing. The court questions the parties about the separation agreement and about their understanding of it. If the court finds the agreement fair, it will enter an order of dissolution that incorporates the separation agreement. This procedure is less expensive and usually considerably faster than a divorce.
Ohio Online Divorce Services:
Divorce Mediation in Ohio:
Mediation is an option that many divorcing couples choose when working out the specific terms of their settlement agreement. It is less expensive than hiring two lawyers, and perhaps more importantly for the long run, it can keep the parties from becoming adversaries. In Ohio, the court can order the parties to enter mediation to resolve issues of parental rights and responsibilities. In deciding whether to order mediation, the court will consider histories of family violence and abuse.
An annulment is when a court declares your marriage legally invalid. In other words, rather than ending a marriage via divorce, an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was never valid to begin with. A marriage can be annulled due to underage (not legally old enough to marry), bigamy, mental incapacity, force, or if the marriage was never consummated.