OHIO DIVORCE LAW
When determining whether divorce is right for you there are several issues you should consider, such as legal separation, grounds for divorce, annulment, residency requirements, and property division. A divorce in Ohio will legally end your marriage allowing you and your ex-spouse to become legally single and re-marry if desired. Divorce can be a complicated and emotional matter. Contact an Ohio divorce attorney for assistance.
An alternative to divorce in Ohio is to file for legal separation. However, a legal separation in Ohio does not end the marriage. You may not enter into a new marriage if you are legally separated. Whether or not you are legally separated from your spouse could have an impact on the division of property, finances and debts. In Ohio, you may file for a legal separation with the Court of Common Pleas for your county. It is important to discuss this matter with an Ohio divorce attorney.
Grounds For Divorce
When filing for divorce you must state a reason as to why you are seeking the divorce, commonly known as “grounds for divorce.” Ohio allows no-fault divorce (spouse is claiming the reason for divorce is neither spouse’s fault) actions when the spouses have been separated for a year without cohabitation. The grounds for divorce are set out in a document called a complaint that you may file with the Court of Common Pleas for your county in Ohio. Once the judgment for divorce is granted (i.e., the judge approves your divorce), you will become a single person and are able to legally re-marry. Appropriate grounds for divorce in Ohio are: (1) irreconcilable differences; (2) bigamy; (3) abandonment (for 1 year); (4) adultery; (5) extreme cruelty; (6) fraud; (7) gross neglect of duty; (8) habitual drunkenness; or, (9) imprisonment at time of complaint.
Divorce Residency Requirements
To properly file for a divorce in Ohio, 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 in 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 manage your paperwork with the court.
Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:
In most states the terms “dissolution of marriage” and “divorce” mean the same thing. However, in Ohio “dissolution of marriage” is a process 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.
An annulment is when a court declares your marriage legally invalid. In other words, rather than ending a marriage by divorce, an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was never valid to begin with. A marriage in Ohio can be annulled due to underage (not legally old enough to marry), bigamy, mental incapacity, fraud, force, or if the marriage was never consummated. Other situations may qualify for an annulment and speaking with an Ohio divorce attorney will help you determine if an annulment is right for you.
Equitable Division of Marital and Separate Property – Distributive Award
As of 9/8/2010, Ohio enacted the “distributive award” system as a method to determine the appropriate division of marital property and separate property. “Distributive award” means any payment or payments, in real or personal property, that are payable in a lump sum or over time, in fixed amounts, that are made from separate property or income, and that are not made from marital property and do not constitute payments of spousal support. In divorce proceedings, the Ohio court shall, and in legal separation proceedings upon the request of either spouse, the court may, determine what constitutes marital property and what constitutes separate property. In either case, upon making such a determination, the court shall divide the marital and separate property equitably between the spouses, in accordance with Ohio law. As the court determines what constitutes marital property it is sensible to discuss the division of property in a divorce with an Ohio divorce attorney.
Links to Divorce Statutes