Divorce Process in Ohio
Guide to the Divorce Process in Ohio
The process of divorce in Ohio is somewhat different from that in other states. The divorce process in Ohio is reserved for divorces in which one party is alleging fault. No-fault divorces can be handled with a much simpler process. This guide can help you understand the difference between dissolution and the divorce process in Ohio and discuss the steps involved in seeking an Ohio divorce.
Dissolution (No-Fault Divorce Process in Ohio)
If your marriage is dissolving because of no-fault grounds (irreconcilable differences), you will file a petition for dissolution of marriage, rather than a complaint for divorce. If you can agree to all the terms of the dissolution, you can settle the dissolution inexpensively and quickly. The court will need to approve of your agreement.
Divorce Complaint and Answer
If you need to use the divorce process in Ohio, it means you are alleging fault against the other spouse. In Ohio, fault can be one of nine grounds for divorce: bigamy, abandonment, adultery, extreme cruelty, fraudulent conract, gross negligence of duty, habitual drunkenness, imprisonment, or an out-of-state divorce.
These grounds will be written in the complaint, in addition to the relief sought by the plaintiff spouse. The plaintiff spouse may ask for many things during the divorce process in Ohio, including child custody, child support, spousal support (alimony), and a division of property that they feel is fair. The defendant spouse will be served with a copy of this divorce complaint, and will have a limited amount of time in which to answer the complaint.
If the defendant cannot be located, plaintiff spouses may file for divorce by publishing notice of the divorce in the newspaper closest to the defendant's last known location. While publishing notice can be expensive, if the spouse does not respond, the divorce process in Ohio can continue and the plaintiff will usually receive everything asked for in the initial complaint.
After the complaint has been answered, the discovery process begins. Discovery will allow both spouses or their legal counsel to investigate allegations of wrongdoing and each other's finances. This can be a very costly, time-consuming part of the divorce process in Ohio. Divorces in Ohio are often settled at this point, either by the spouses agreeing on a settlement or finding a mediator to help them negotiate.
A psychological evaluation can be ordered to determine child custody or visitation issues, and other experts may be hired to audit or assess either spouse. Expert fees are additional costs of legal representation at this stage.
If no settlement can be negotiated, a divorce trial will be held. This final part of the divorce process can take days or weeks depending on how complex the issues being negotiated are. The judge will issue a judgment after arguments conclude. Only once the judgment is issued will the divorce process in Ohio be complete.
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