Leaving your spouse may very well be one of the hardest things you ever do, even if you know that the marriage is over and that moving on separately is what’s best for both of you. Indeed, not only is a divorce emotionally complex, but legally, too. As you navigate the divorce process, there will be many things to think about – working with a lawyer can help you to make sense of the process and to reach a divorce settlement. For more information about to file for a divorce in Ohio, refer to the following. Then, call our experienced Ohio divorce lawyers at the law offices of Groth & Associates directly.
FILING A DIVORCE IN OHIO
Ensure You Meet the Residency Requirement to File for a Divorce
Even if you were not married in the state of Ohio, you can file for a divorce in Ohio, but you must meet the residency requirements first. In order to file for a divorce in the state of Ohio, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. You’ll also need to make sure that either you or your spouse has lived in the county in which you’re filing for a divorce for at least 90 days. This means that if you just moved to Ohio, you’ll have to wait a little bit before your divorce case can proceed.
Determine the Grounds for Your Divorce
The second thing that you’ll need to do after determining whether or not you can file for a divorce in your county is to determine the grounds for your divorce. The grounds for divorce in Ohio are found in Ohio Laws and Rules Section 3105.01, and include:
- Willful absence of one party for at least 12 months;
- Extreme cruelty;
- Fraudulent contract;
- Gross neglect of duty;
- Habitual drunkenness;
- Incarceration of the defendant at the time the petitioner brings forth the complaint;
- Divorce in another state;
- Living separate and apart without cohabitation for at least one year (no-fault divorce); or
In today’s modern world, most parties seek a divorce based on the ground of living separate and apart for at least one year. However, if you want to seek divorce on a different ground, there may be a benefit in doing so – you should discuss this with a lawyer first.
Decide What Type of Divorce You’re Filing
Another thing that you’ll need to think about is whether or not you’re filing a contested or an uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorce cases are often much easier and much more straightforward, as in this type of divorce, each party to the divorce is in agreement about how issues in the divorce should be resolved. If you and your spouse are in agreement about the issues in your divorce, then you can proceed straight to step number five – preparing and filing your divorce forms. Otherwise, we recommend attempting to reach an agreement with your spouse first – this may help you save time (and potentially money) down the line.
Resolve Important Issues in the Divorce with Your Spouse
If your divorce is contested, which means that you and your current spouse are not in agreement about how issues in your divorce should be resolved, then you should try to work with your spouse to reach an agreement before you ask a judge to do this for you. This is because mediation and negotiation are much less expensive options, as well as much more amicable ones, than is divorce litigation. Issues that you will need to resolve include:
- Child custody;
- Property division;
- Spousal support; and
- Child support.
Parents will need to submit a separation agreement and shared parenting plan or parenting plan to the court before a divorce can be finalized. We strongly suggest working with an experienced attorney who can help you to form these documents and navigate other elements of the divorce process and resolving issues in a divorce.
Prepare and File Your Divorce Forms
If you and your spouse are in agreement, or if you’ve realized that reaching an agreement is impossible or if your spouse doesn’t want to talk to you, then the next thing that you’ll do is to prepare and file your divorce forms. Filing divorce forms isn’t merely just telling the court that you want a divorce; during this process, you’ll also propose how issues in the divorce should be resolved, who should get what property, where shared children will live, etc. You’ll need to file these documents in the county in which you live and pay a filing fee at the time of filing.
Then, you’ll need to make sure that your petition for divorce and summons are served to your spouse. Your spouse will have a set amount of time to reply to your petition; they will either agree or disagree. If in agreement, the divorce will proceed to its final stages. If in disagreement, there will be another opportunity for resolution via mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, the next option is divorce litigation.
Get a Final Judgment/Go to Trial
The final step in a divorce is to get a final judgment from a court finalizing the divorce and settling all issues in a divorce (a court essentially signs off on the agreement the couple has reached) or to go to trial where a judge will hear both parties’ cases and then ultimately issue a decision about the divorce.
Call Our Toledo Divorce Attorneys Today
Based on the information above, it’s clear that the divorce process can be time-consuming and multifaceted. When you work with an experienced Ohio divorce attorney, you significantly improve your chances of reaching a divorce settlement that’s aligned with your best interests. To schedule a consultation with our experienced Toledo divorce lawyers today, call Groth & Associates directly or send us a message online at your convenience. We are here to serve you and your interests.