OHIO DIVORCE MADE EASY. DOCUMENTS DONE RIGHT!
OHIO 3STEPDIVORCE TM - KEEPING YOUR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE SIMPLE
|This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of Ohio. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in court.
With 3StepDivorce TM you can complete and print your Ohio divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file for divorce in Ohio in a timely, professional, and hassle free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy.
Online Divorce FAQ: Ohio
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court’s requirements for the next steps you’ll need to take.
Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option that’s still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.
If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in Ohio.
How Does Ohio 3StepDivorce™ Work?
Ohio 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you’ll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, Ohio 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms the state requires to start the process, along with instructions for adding any further information that’s needed. You’ll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.
Can I File for Divorce in Ohio?
There are two basic requirements to file for divorce in Ohio: a residency requirement, and a legally recognized reason for ending your marriage.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in Ohio?
To divorce in Ohio, the spouse who files must have been a resident of the state for at least six months immediately before filing the complaint. (Ohio Rev. Code § 3105.03 (2022).)
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Ohio?
The terminology for ending your marriage in Ohio differs from that of other states: Not all legal procedures to end your marriage are called a “divorce.”
If you and your spouse agree on all the issues regarding the end of your marriage (such as property division, child custody, and spousal support), you will end your marriage by filing a “dissolution of marriage.” You don’t have to provide the court with any grounds (reasons) for the end of the marriage–you simply need to agree that the marriage is over.
On the other hand, if you and your spouse don’t agree on all the issues, you will have to get what Ohio calls a “divorce.” Ohio law lays out 11 grounds (reasons) for divorce:
Either spouse had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage.
The spouse who isn’t filing for divorce willingly left the other for a year or more.
Fraudulent contract (meaning a spouse lied, hid information, or committed another fraudulent act in order to get the other spouse to marry).
Gross “neglect of duty.”
Imprisonment of the non-filing spouse in a state or federal correctional institution at the time the divorce is filed.
The non-filing spouse divorced the filing spouse in another state.
The spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for a year.
Incompatibility (unless one of the spouses denies that the couple is incompatible).
(Ohio Rev. Code § 3105.01 (2022).)
When a spouse files for divorce based on one of the first nine grounds listed above, the divorce will be “ fault-based.” This means that the filing spouse will have to prove that the other spouse committed the bad act that caused the end of the marriage.
The final two grounds–living separately for a year and incompatibility–are “no-fault” grounds for divorce. This means that the filing spouse doesn’t have to prove that the other was at fault for ending the marriage. But, if the non-filing spouse disagrees with the other’s claim that they are incompatible, the filing spouse will have to give another reason for the divorce.
Most people who file for divorce in Ohio list incompatibility as the reason their marriage is ending. As long as the other spouse doesn’t disagree, it’s the simplest way to proceed.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in Ohio?
Many Ohio residents are finding that they can file for divorce and get through the process without the expense of hiring a lawyer if they’re filing a dissolution of marriage. That means that they’ve agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:
how to divide their property and debts
alimony (spousal support)
the designation of a “residential parent” and a “legal custodian” of the minor children (if any), and
child custody, visitation, and child support (if they have minor children).
If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you’ll have to file for an Ohio divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you–especially if your spouse has an attorney.
Can I Use Ohio 3StepDivorce™ in My Situation?
You can use Ohio 3StepDivorce™ as long as you are filing a dissolution of marriage (known in other states as an “uncontested divorce”) and you meet the state’s residency requirements. You’ll need to have a written marital settlement agreement, signed by both spouses, that covers all of the issues in your dissolution of marriage. Ohio 3StepDivorce™ will create this agreement for you, based on your answers to the questionnaire.
Ohio 3StepDivorce™ can also help if you aren’t ready to file for dissolution of marriage, but you want a legal separation agreement with your spouse. For instance, you might want to work out arrangements for support, custody of your children, who has to move out of the family home, and how to take care of the bills while you’re separated but still legally married.
What If My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on the Issues in Our Divorce?
Just because you haven’t been able to agree with your spouse about everything, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. If you’re able to reach a settlement agreement with the mediator’s help, you can then use Ohio 3StepDivorce™.
Can I Get an Online Dissolution in Ohio If I Have Children?
Generally, you can use Ohio 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions. Ohio 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you’ll have an option of customizing the schedule to meet your individual needs.
However, you won’t be able to address custody-related issues with Ohio 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don’t meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, this means that Ohio must be the home state of the child on the date the dissolution of marriage is filed, or that Ohio was the home state of the child within six months before filing (and the child is absent from Ohio but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in the state). (Ohio Rev. Code § 3127.15 (2022).) If you don’t meet the home state requirement, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule.
How Will My Online Dissolution in Ohio Deal With Child Support?
In Ohio, both parents have an obligation to support their children. And like all states, Ohio has child support guidelines for calculating how much support the parents should pay, based largely on their incomes and custody arrangements.
3StepDivorce™ provides the Ohio Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but the judge will review your agreement to determine if the amount of support is just and appropriate and is in your children’s best interests, and if meets one or more of the state’s grounds for deviating from the child support guidelines. (Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3119.22, 3119.23 (2022).)
In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse can also include child support provisions that aren’t legally required, such as a parent’s contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child’s college education. You can also agree on some specific future events that will trigger a change in child support, such as when you’ll no longer need to pay for child care.
Will We Be Able to Change the Amount of Child Support After Divorce?
Child support orders in Ohio can be administratively reviewed every 36 months from the date the order was established or the date of the last review. Some orders can be reviewed sooner if your circumstances have changed significantly. If you make a request for a judge to modify your order, you don’t have to wait for 36 months. The judge will review your request based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order. (Ohio Rev. Code § 3119.79 (2022).)
If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to modify child support, you and your spouse may agree to a modification on your own.
How Will Online Divorce Handle Property and Debts From Our Marriage?
When you fill out your questionnaire for Ohio 3StepDivorce™, you’ll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you’ll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.
What About the Family Home?
If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to the family home when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you’ve chosen to deal with it, such as:
selling the house and splitting the proceeds
transferring ownership to one spouse, with the other spouse receiving money or other assets in exchange for that spouse’s share, or
continuing to own the property together while allowing one spouse to stay in the house for a period of time (and, if so, how you’ll handle paying the mortgage and other ongoing costs).
What About Retirement Accounts?
In your Ohio 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you’ll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.
If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you’ll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You’ll almost always need this kind of expert help when you’re dealing with a defined-benefit pension.
Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here’s how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don’t have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that’s needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.
The rules are different for IRAs. You can simply agree to have your spouse’s share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse’s name. (You’ll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)
Can I Get Alimony With an Online Dissolution in Ohio?
You and your spouse may waive any right to alimony in your Ohio divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.
How Do I File My Dissolution Papers in Ohio?
When you get your completed forms with Ohio 3StepDivorce™, your next step will be to file your paperwork in the Court of Common Pleas in a county where you or your spouse have lived for at least 90 days. If you both live in the same county, you must file in that county.
How Much Is Ohio’s Filing Fee for Dissolution of Marriage?
Every county in Ohio has different filing fees; contact the clerk of the court where you will be filing for more information. In most counties, the filing fee for divorce and dissolution of marriage is between $300 and $400. The fee might be higher if you have minor children.
What If I Can’t Afford to Pay the Filing Fee?
If you can’t afford to pay the filing fees, you can ask the court to waive the fees. If your income is at or below 187.5% of the federal poverty limit, the court must waive your fees. If you don’t qualify for this mandatory waiver, you can still apply, but it will be up to the judge to decide whether to grant your request. (Ohio Rev. Code § 2323.311 (2022).) Use Form 20: Civil Fee Waiver Affidavit and Order to request a waiver.
How Long Does an Uncontested Dissolution Take in Ohio?
Dissolutions of Marriage proceed fairly quickly because the couple has decided on all the issues. Also, because both spouses sign and file the petition, neither spouse has to be served with the divorce paperwork. By law, a dissolution of marriage can’t be finalized less than 30 or more than 90 days after filing the petition. (Ohio Rev. Code § 3105.64 (2022).)
How Can I Get More Help With Ohio Online Dissolution?
Ohio 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our Ohio Divorce Online Help Center at (888) 665-6782 (toll free), Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Time).
Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about Ohio law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.