In the state of Ohio, you cannot file for a divorce until you have lived in the state for at least six months and in the county where you are filing for at least 90 days. This is known as Ohio’s residency requirement for the divorce process./p>

The state does not have any such residency requirement for obtaining a legal separation; this means that you can file for a legal separation as soon as you move there.

However, that is where the differences between divorce and legal separation end. Under Ohio laws, to obtain either a separation or a divorce, you need to file paperwork with the court.

If you decide to pursue a formal legal separation or a divorce through the court, you will also be required to select one of the reasons recognized by Ohio law as proper grounds for divorce or separation.

These reasons include:

  • Bigamy;
  • Incompatibility, but only if both spouses agree;
  • Voluntary absence by the other spousal party for at least one year;
  • Adultery;
  • Extreme cruelty;
  • Habitual drunkenness;
  • Gross neglect of one’s duty as a spouse;
  • Imprisonment of the other spouse at the time of filing for divorce;
  • Obtaining divorce outside the state of Ohio that freed one spouse from the marriage while requiring the other spouse to still face all of the obligations and restrictions of the marriage; and
  • Living apart for one year

If none of these reasons applies to your situation, or if you wish to obtain a divorce without selecting a reason, then there are a couple of other options available to you. The options for a no-fault divorce are a dissolution of marriage and a collaborative law divorce.

What Paperwork Do I Need to File for a Divorce in Ohio?

As mentioned, there are three ways that you can file for divorce in Ohio. You may either file for a formal divorce, a collaborative law divorce, or a dissolution of marriage, the latter of which is similar to a no-fault divorce in other states.

There are standard forms available on the Supreme Court of Ohio’s website that you can use to start either a divorce or a dissolution of marriage. However, you will need to create your own documents for a collaborative law divorce.

To obtain a collaborative law divorce, you must sit down with your spouse and create and sign a Collaborative Family Law Agreement to start the process and a negotiated resolution for the divorce. Both of these will be filed with the court when you wish to finalize the divorce.

In order to obtain a dissolution of marriage, you will need to get collaborate with your spouse and complete a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. There are different versions of this form for couples with children and couples without children. Once you have completed the form, you will need to submit it directly to the court.

While both a collaborative law divorce and a dissolution of marriage require spousal notification before you can file for divorce, a traditional divorce does not require you to announce your intent to divorce before filing for it.

If you decide to file for an actual divorce in court, then you must fill out a Complaint for Divorce and file it with the local court. Once you have filed the complaint, you will need to alert your spouse of your intent to seek a divorce because you must serve your complaint to your spouse.

What are Some Community Property and Separate Property Differences in Ohio?

Ohio is an equitable property distribution state, as opposed to a community property state. This means that Ohio courts are required to divide the marital property in a fair manner, which may not be always completely equal between the parties. Marital property is generally any property or assets a couple acquires while married.

Any property that is not classified as marital property is considered to be separate property. If you have separate property, that property is yours to keep during the divorce proceeding and will not be subject to equitable distribution. Separate property may include:

  • Anything you inherited or received as a gift;
  • Property that was acquired before the marriage;
  • Compensation from personal injury claims, not including anything intended to compensate for any expenditures or losses from marital property;
  • Any property that you and your spouse have agreed to make separate property via an antenuptial agreement and;
  • Any appreciation or passive income generated by separate real property.

What Should I Do if Children are Involved with a Divorced Filed in Ohio?

If there are children involved, various disputes and legal issues can arise. This includes disputes over who gets to take care of them and how they are going to be cared for. Ohio courts encourage parents who are going through a divorce to submit a parenting plan.

Through the plan, they can make known their preferences with regard to child custody and visitation. The court will then see if the parenting plan is in the best interest of the child by analyzing different factors.

Some of the factors the court will use include the child’s basic needs, criminal backgrounds of the parents, any instances of abuse or neglect, and the mental and physical health of the parents. Before approving any parenting plan or issuing another custody arrangement, the court may also require you to attend parenting classes or counseling.

Child support is closely tied in with custody because one parent may be required to pay support to the other parent. This often happens in the event that the court decides to grant primary custody to one parent instead of granting shared parenting.

This requirement is intended to allow the noncustodial parent an opportunity to fulfill their duty of providing financial support to the child, including providing medical insurance and other similar needs.

Do I Need to Pay Alimony Under Ohio Law?

Once the court has divided up the marital property, it may also determine whether one partner needs to pay spousal support, also known as alimony, to the other spouse. In some cases, spousal support can also be granted on a temporary basis while the divorce proceeding is underway.

Under Ohio state family laws, spousal support may be granted in the form of real or personal property, instead of the traditional choice of money. In order to determine the amount of spousal support, the court will look a number of things, including:

  • Any requests for spousal support submitted by either spouse;
  • The income and earning potential of each spouse;
  • Each spouse’s standard of living during the marriage;
  • The time and money needed by spouse to obtain necessary training or education; and
  • How long the marriage lasted.

Spousal support does not end automatically just because the receiving spouse remarries. Rather, it can only end under a specified termination date, if one obtains a court order ending the support, or if the spouse receiving it dies. There may be exceptions if the order for spousal support specifically provides for another outcome in the event of the spouse’s death.

Where Can I Find the Right Ohio Divorce Lawyer?

Divorce is such an extremely important matter that can affect your life in many different ways. It may be in your best interests to hire an Ohio divorce lawyer to represent you. An attorney will be able to inform you of your rights and obligations with regard to the divorce and ensure that you do not make any errors with the paperwork.