In order for any type of divorce to be granted in Ohio, the trial court must determine residency and grounds. Specifically, the plaintiff, or the person filing for divorce, must be an Ohio resident for at least 6 months before he or she files for divorce. Also, the plaintiff or the defendant must be a resident of the county where the divorce was filed for at least 90 days.
Continually, the court must determine that there are proper grounds for divorce. Grounds are defined as legal reasons for the divorce to exist. In order to establish grounds, there must be a testimony by the plaintiff, and there must be a corroborating witness or an admission from the other spouse as to the specific grounds occurring. Examples of grounds for a no fault divorce include:
- Living separately for at least one year
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To begin a divorce in Ohio the plaintiff must file a complaint, indicating the place and date of marriage, names and birth of any minor children and also stating that there exists at least one of the grounds necessary for a no fault divorce. The complaint must also include a request from the court to give the plaintiff his or her demanded relief. A fee must be paid to file the complaint.
If both parties are in agreement with the divorce the parties should work together to complete a Divorce Settlement Agreement. The Divorce Settlement Agreement can be completed using RocketLawyer’s easy interview processes, and demonstrates to the court that a trial is not necessary, as the parties have reached an agreement.
After the initial complaint has been filed, the complaint must be served to the defendant. The defendant must then file an “answer” to the complaint that either admits or denies the allegations brought forth within the complaint. If the defendant decides to deny any allegations he or she is also allowed to raise any defenses he or she might have. Continually, the defendant may also file a “counter claim” which would asset anything against the plaintiff.
If for some reason the defendant receives service, but does not file an answer, the court rules allow for the granting of a default judgment in a divorce case. The rules themselves allow for the pre-conclusion and thus if the plaintiff presents sufficient evidence to establish a divorce, the court must grant it to them. The court must also rule on the division of property, parental rights regarding the children and any other supporting orders.
While the divorce is pending, both the plaintiff and the defendant can request orders of temporary alimony, child support, parental rights or any other temporary order that may be necessary during the divorce process. Either party can also request the court order a psychological or psychiatric evaluation on the other party, the children, or themselves, to help the court make a decision regarding the parental rights of the children. During this time discovery procedures like interrogations and depositions may be taken to aid both parties in determining what assets are involved with the divorce. If you'd like to have a lawyer for this part of the divorce process, you can use RocketLawyer.com to Find a Lawyer who's right for you.
During this time the court may, and probably will, hold one or more pre-trials to decide if a mutual agreement can be reached and if not, what the issues will be in trial. If there is no resolution, the court will set a date to end the pendency period and the discovery procedures, and then it will set dates for the production of expert reports and a final hearing or trial.
During the final trial, if a divorce makes it that far, the judge is presented with all the expert reports that were collected during the pending period. The judge may also interview the children if he or she deems it necessary, and the court will hold hearings where each spouse presents witnesses and testimony. The judge will consider all the information he or she has been presented with as well as the law when making his or her decision.
A Note about Dissolution
Dissolution occurs when both parties have agreed upon every aspect of the divorce, or termination of marriage. There is no plaintiff or defendant, nor is it a divorce in the technical term; it is faster, and is essentially a termination of the marriage and approved agreement between the two parties. Dissolution is advantageous for its speed and its non-adversarial nature.