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Doing your own divorce in Ohio is very common, especially when your divorce is uncontested. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse both agree on all the issues related to dissolving your marriage.

Divorce Grounds in Ohio

No-fault grounds in Ohio for divorce or dissolution of marriage: living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year and incompatibility; and fault grounds for a divorce: bigamy, willful abandonment for one year, adultery; extreme cruelty, fraudulent contract, gross neglect of duty, habitual drunkenness or drug abuse, and imprisonment.

Residency Requirements for Ohio Divorce

The plaintiff in a complaint for divorce or dissolution of marriage must be an Ohio resident for at least six months and a resident of the county for 90 days.

Divorce in Ohio - How it Works

In the simplified pro se divorce, the plaintiff completes the top part of the Summons (the bottom part is completed when the documents are filed), the Complaint, the Settlement Agreement, and the Property and Debt Listing form. The plaintiff also needs the Verification, but he or she should not complete and sign it except in front of a notary. The Settlement Agreement and Property and Debt Listing forms also have to be notarized.

Ohio online divorce process The plaintiff files the divorce papers and pays a filing fee unless he or she is indigent.

The clerk accepts the papers and assigns the case file number. A judge reviews the divorce papers and decides if they can be approved immediately, or if a hearing is needed (If the spouse are filing for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, then a hearing is always required). If a hearing in a divorce is ordered, the plaintiff receives a letter from the clerk of court with a hearing date and copies of additional forms that must be completed and brought to the hearing. These forms include Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order for Judgment and a Judgment or Redacted Judgment form.

The plaintiff makes two copies of the Summons and Complaint and sends one copy of each to the defendant via the postal service or hands them over personally. The plaintiff also sends the Admission of Service form to the other defendant, which he or she completes and returns and which proves that he or she knows about the action.

The plaintiff should mail or give the defendant the Settlement Agreement and Property and Debt Listing. The defendant must sign the same original document, and he or she should make a copy of the documents and return them to the plaintiff. Both spouses complete a property and debt listing form that each exchanges with the other. The Property and Debt Listing details each spouse's financial picture, from employment and assets, to liabilities and monthly expenses, so everyone reaches a fair agreement.

In an uncontested divorce (not a dissolution), where the parties agree on all the terms and conditions, the spouses often times do not have to appear in court. Instead, they can file an Affidavit of Proof for Stipulated Judgment. The spouses acknowledge that they agree on everything. A pro se divorce in Ohio requires bilateral agreement. Here is more information regarding the process of filing uncontested divorce papers in Ohio.

Along with this stipulation, the parties must still file a Settlement Agreement, Property and Debt Listing Form and a Parenting Plan setting forth how they wish to divide the marital estate and assign parenting time and custody rights.

Additionally, individual counties might require other forms regarding health insurance and child support.

The court may grant a temporary or permanent decree of separation for any cause for which a divorce may be granted. This may include an order requiring payment of alimony and child support as well as provide for the equitable division of the assets and debts of the spouses.

In any proceeding involving an order, modification or enforcement related to custody, support, or visitation in which issues are contested, the court may order mediation at the parties' expense, but it may not order mediation if the custody, support, or visitation issue involve or may involve physical or sexual abuse of any party or the child of any party to the proceeding. Learn the best ways to save money when doing your own divorce in Ohio.

An Ohio absolute divorce decree is not finalized for a minimum of 30 to 90 days.

Ohio recognizes common law marriages that began before October 10, 1991.

Do It Yourself Online Divorce in Ohio

Our online divorce makes it easy to file your own divorce in the state of Ohio. In as little as 20 minutes you can have all your completed divorce forms and filing instructions ready for signing and filing. Instantly access your completed divorce forms after a short online interview. It is that easy, no lengthy completion or delivery times. See if you qualify below:

Property Division in Ohio

Using net value of marital divisible property, the court orders an equitable, but not necessarily equal, division of property acquired during the marriage. The court does not divide any property acquired before the spouses married, so the spouses must document what property they own and when each acquired it. The court will only intervene by dividing the property if the spouse can not reach their own agreement.

The court divides property and debts of the parties equitably unless it determines that an equal division is not equitable. The court may redistribute property after the divorce if a party fails to disclose property and debts properly or the party fails to comply with the terms of a court order distributing property and debts.

Ohio is an equitable distribution state and dual classification state, where the appreciation of separate property remains separate. The courts generally accept a fair and reasonable property division the parties agree to, but if the parties cannot agree, the General Court divides the property within the Judgment of Divorce.

Separate property is all real and personal property acquired by a spouse before marriage or by bequest, devise, descent, or gift during the course of the marriage.

In dividing marital property, the court considers a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage; the assets and liabilities of the spouses; the desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to reside in the family home for reasonable periods of time, to the spouse with custody of the children of the marriage; the liquidity of the property to be distributed; the economic desirability of retaining intact an asset or an interest in an asset; the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective awards to be made to each spouse; the costs of sale, if it is necessary that an asset be sold to effectuate an equitable distribution of property; any division or disbursement of property made in a separation agreement that was voluntarily entered into by the spouses; and "any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable."

As in other jurisdictions, divorcing couples normally sell the marital home and divide the profits, or sell the home to one party and refinance, or the custodial parent occupies the house until the last child leaves school and then sell it, which is a routine often considered by Ohio courts.

The court may include the retirement benefits and plans earned by both spouses as marital assets available for division. Retirement plans are either Defined Contribution Plans (DC), such as a 401(k), or Defined Benefit Plans (DB), which is the company pension. Several different methods of valuation are used in determining how much a marital asset is worth. Courts generally accept the value when the spouses mutually agree on a value of a particular asset. That part of a pension accumulated during a marriage is community property and subject to distribution. When spouses share in each other's pension plan, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) must be prepared. The QDRO spells out the terms and conditions of the pension distribution.

Alimony and Spousal Support in Ohio

The Ohio court may decide that one spouse needs financial support from the other to meet his or her basic living needs and to maintain the lifestyle he or she enjoyed during the marriage. Any award is based on the needs of the respective parties for any period of time based on the circumstances of the parties based on income and resources, not gender.

Either party may petition for alimony, but the court shall exercise its discretion in determining the amount, duration, and the manner of payment, and shall consider all relevant factors. The duration of the award may be either for a specified or for an indefinite term. Courts may order temporary, short- and long-term alimony.

In Ohio courts may order temporary, short- and long-term alimony. The court may grant spousal support in terms of monthly payments, or as a lump sum, in property or money, payable all at once or in installments.

Ohio law provides fourteen factors for a judge to consider when one spouse is seeking an award of spousal support, including "any other fact that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable."

In Ohio, spousal support is determined after marital property has been distributed to the parties. The Ohio court decides the duration of spousal support. Support orders can be terminated by one of several occurrences. If spousal support is only owed for a short-term period, the order automatically terminates when the payment term ends. Remarriage of the recipient or death of either party is generally grounds for termination. Ohio law provides for the termination of spousal support if the recipient cohabits with a significant other.

Support may be permanent or temporary, depending on the discretion of the court. Permanent spousal support may be modified at any time. Modification of the amount and duration of the support can be done when economic conditions change, such as a decrease or increase in income of either party. Courts prefer a specific ending date to end spousal support, but the court may also maintain jurisdiction over the support issue, in order to allow the judge to review the order to decide whether it should be modified, terminated, or continued.

Ohio Child Custody Orders and Arrangements

Ohio permits parents to develop their own joint custody plan. The parents delineate their own preferences in regard to child custody and visitation, and the court reviews the plan. If one parent requests shared parenting and files a plan that is in the child's best interests and approved by the court, the court may allocate parental rights and responsibilities to both parents and issue a shared parenting order; otherwise, the court, consistent with the child's best interests, allocates parental rights and responsibilities primarily to one parent.

Ohio law expresses a preference for parents to share as equally as practically possible in the custody of a child in a divorce case. In joint custody, both parents have joint rights and responsibilities; however, this regime may work if the child's welfare is at risk with the other parent.

The court does grant significant latitude to the parents in developing their own joint custody plan when determining child custody in a divorce, legal separation or paternity case.

In any divorce, the court considers the best interests of the children and it provides for their financial, educational, and emotional needs and may hand down temporary orders to provide for the children while the case is pending.

In deciding child custody, the court considers the best interests of the children, the wishes and concerns of the parents, the child's wishes and concerns, the child's relationship with their parents, siblings, and extended family, the child's adjustment and development at home, school, and in the community, the mental and physical health of the parents, child, and siblings, the parental history of paying child support, the parental history of abuse or neglect of any child, the denial of other parent's rights to visitation, and any parental relocation plans.

The court determines the best interests and welfare of the child by evaluating a variety of factors, including but not limited to, the love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and child, the capacity and disposition of the parents to give the child love, affection, and the court considers a spouse's history with an eye for tendencies make him or her unsuitable as a parent.

Ohio courts may order divorcing parents with minor children to complete a parenting class before granting a divorce. The Judge's may require parents to take a parenting class.

The courts consider joint custody favorably because it promotes the continuing relationship between the parents and the child, and both parents have joint rights and responsibilities in childrearing. However, this shall not be granted if the child's well being is at risk with one of the parents.

Ohio courts may order divorcing parents with minor children to complete a parenting class before granting a divorce.

Gender of the parent does not determine custody. The courts hold that joint custody is in the best interests of a child, but this does not imply an equal division of the child's time between the parents or an equal division of financial responsibility for the child.

The Ohio courts have full discretion when determining visitation between children and parents.

Ohio Child Support Guidelines

Both parents must provide financial support for all of their minor children, based on the Ohio Child Support Guidelines.

A judgment or order requiring the payment of child support until the child attains majority continues until the end of the month during which the child is graduated from high school or attains the age of nineteen years, whichever occurs first. The child must reside with the person to whom the duty of support is owed.

Ohio uses the Income Shares model to determine child support. In this routine, a child receives the same proportion of parental income that he or she would have been received if the parents had not divorced because in an intact household, both parents pool their income and spend it for the benefit of all household members, including any children. Income shares considers the gross income of both parents and then establishes the proportion each contributes and divides it among their minor children.

If the noncustodial parent earns more than the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent assumes a higher share of the child's support, but if the noncustodial parent earns less than the custodial parent, he or she pays a smaller share of the support.

Sometimes, courts consider extraordinary expenses, independent income, seasonal fluctuation in parents' income, special needs as well "any other reason that should be considered to make child support more equitable." Extraordinary expenses are either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment, or deductions, where the amount is deducted, and indicated as either mandatory or permissive.

Likewise, extraordinary expenses can be either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment paid by the noncustodial parent, or a deduction, where it is subtracted. Extraordinary expenses are either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment, or deductions, where the amount is deducted, and indicated as either mandatory or permissive. The court may deviate from child support guidelines when it finds that their application "would not meet, or would exceed, the reasonable needs of the child."

A parent may request that a child support order be modified at any time during or after the divorce case. Courts modify support to meet changes in the needs of the children, for example, medical needs, or changes in a parent's ability to pay the original support order caused by for example, a parent loses his or her job or the alternative, the court may increase child support payments if a parent gets a raise or wins the lottery

Process of Service for a Ohio Divorce

In Ohio, service of process is generally by certified or express mail. The clerk mails the summons and complaint as certified or express mail, return receipt requested, with instructions to show to whom it was delivered, the date of delivery, and the address where delivered. The clerk records the fact of mailing on the appearance docket and also records entry of the return receipt.

A defendant, who has not been served personally, may be served by publication.

A Simple Divorce Process
Step 1 See if you qualify & create account!
Step 2 Answer the questions at your own pace.
Step 3 Print, sign and file your divorce forms with your local court (instantly review & print your forms online or have them sent US Priority Mail at no additional charge).


Only $299 (flat-fee)

or 2 monthly payments of $157
or 3 monthly payments of $109
or 4 monthly payments of $84
Payment Options Do Not Delay Divorce
Instant Delivery - Instant Changes
100% Guarantee of Court Approval
or Your Money Back
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