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Ohio Divorce Laws

The following divorce laws in Ohio are unique to those people who wish to terminate their marriage.

We are providing the important divorce laws in Ohio online as an easy reference guide to help you complete your paperwork for filing for divorce in Ohio.

Residency Requirements: In order to file for a divorce in Ohio, you or your spouse must meet the strict residency requirements. These requirements permit the court to have jurisdiction of your case, resulting in allowing you to use their judicial system. These requirements are only a concern for spouses who have recently relocated or plan to relocate in the near future. They are as follows:

The plaintiff in actions for divorce and annulment shall have been a resident of the state at least six months immediately before filing the complaint. Actions for divorce and annulment shall be brought in the proper county for commencement of action pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court of Common Pleas shall hear and determine the case, whether the marriage took place, or the cause of divorce or annulment occurred, within or without the state.

Actions for legal separation shall be brought in the proper county for commencement of actions pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure.

The divorce is typically filed with in county in which the filing spouse resides. (Ohio Code - Sections: 3105.03)

No-Fault Grounds: Most uncontested divorce cases are filed according to a "no-fault" ground. We are using the term "no-fault" in a generic fashion by labeling all grounds that do not actually declare a "fault" as "no-fault". In the state of Ohio the "no-fault" grounds are as follows:

(1) On the application of either party, when husband and wife have, without interruption for one year, lived separate and apart without cohabitation;

(2) Incompatibility, unless denied by either party. (Ohio Code - Sections: 3105.01)

Changing Name: When a divorce is granted the court of common pleas shall, if the person so desires, restore any name that the person had before the marriage. (Ohio Code - Sections: 3105.16 and 3105.34)

Filing Party Name: The Petitioner or Plaintiff. This is the spouse who is recognized as the initiator of the divorce and is the one who actually files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Complaint for Divorce with the county court.

Non-Filing Party Name: The Respondent or Defendant. This spouse plays a lesser role in an uncontested divorce versus a contested divorce. He or she will be required to sign and/or respond in a timely fashion to the documents filed by his or her spouse.

Family Law or Domestic Relations Court: In the Court of Common Pleas of __________ County, Ohio. All divorce cases in the state of Ohio are facilitated through this court for that particular county.

Clerk's Name: All correspondence with a Ohio clerk of the court should formally address him or her as follows: County Clerk's Office of the Court of Common Pleas.

Property and Debt Division: Ohio is considered an "equitable distribution" state. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on how the marital property will be divided, the court shall use a three step process. First, it will determine what property is marital. Second, it will put a value on the marital property. Third, it will divide the marital property in an equitable fashion, which is not necessarily equal, but rather what is considered to be fair.

The court shall consider all of the following factors when making a property award: (A) The length of the marriage; (B) The assets and liabilities of the spouses; (C) 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; (D) The liquidity of the property to be distributed; (E) The economic desirability of retaining intact an asset or an interest in an asset; (F) The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective awards to be made to each spouse; (G) The costs of sale, if it is necessary that an asset be sold to effectuate an equitable distribution of property; (H) Any division or disbursement of property made in a separation agreement that was voluntarily entered into by the spouses; (I) Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable. (Ohio Code - Sections: 3105.171)

Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony: Determining the amount of spousal support, if any, is not as objective as determining child support. Spousal support, whether permanent or temporary, is typically decided on a case-by-case basis, because it is very likely that unique circumstances and factors regarding the marriage and the property award will play a significant role in allowing the court to arrive at the appropriate amount.

The court shall consider all of the following factors when determining support: (1) The income of the parties; (2) The relative earning abilities of the parties; (3) The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the parties; (4) The retirement benefits of the parties; (5) The duration of the marriage; (6) The extent to which it would be inappropriate for a party, because that party will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage, to seek employment outside the home; (7) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage; (8) The relative extent of education of the parties; (9) The relative assets and liabilities of the parties, including but not limited to any court-ordered payments by the parties; (10) The contribution of each party to the education, training, or earning ability of the other party, including, but not limited to, any party's contribution to the acquisition of a professional degree of the other party; (11) The time and expense necessary for the spouse who is seeking spousal support to acquire education, training, or job experience; (12) The tax consequences, for each party, of an award of spousal support; (13) The lost income production capacity of either party that resulted from that party's marital responsibilities; (n) Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable. (Ohio Code - Sections: 3105.171)

Custody and Visitation: Shared or joint child custody has become more and more popular with the Ohio courts. If you and your spouse request to have joint or shared "legal" custody, it will almost always be granted. As for joint or shared "physical" custody, the court will examine this a bit more closely to determine if it is a realistic choice that would result in an arrangement that is best for the children.

When husband and wife are living separate and apart from each other, or are divorced, and the question as to the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of their children and the place of residence and legal custodian of their children is brought before a court of competent jurisdiction, they shall stand upon an equality as to the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of their children and the place of residence and legal custodian of their children, so far as parenthood is involved.

The court shall consider all relevant factors in determining a custody award, including, but not limited to: (1) The wishes of the child's parents regarding the child's care; (2) the child's wishes and concerns as to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities concerning the child, the wishes and concerns of the child, as expressed to the court; (3) The child's interaction and interrelationship with the child's parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest; (4) The child's adjustment to the child's home, school, and community; (5) The mental and physical health of all persons involved in the situation; (6) The parent more likely to honor and facilitate court-approved parenting time rights or visitation and companionship rights; (7) Whether either parent has failed to make all child support payments (8) Whether either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving any act that resulted in a child being an abused child or a neglected child; (9) Whether the residential parent or one of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree has continuously and willfully denied the other parent's right to parenting time (10) Whether either parent has established a residence, or is planning to establish a residence, outside this state. (Ohio Code - Sections: 3105.21, 3109.03, 1309.04, and 1309.051)

Determining Child Support: The basis for determining a monthly support amount is best achieved by referring to the Ohio child support worksheet. The worksheet utilizes the child support guidelines that are defined by state law. The court will use this same worksheet as a building block for determining the support obligation, that is if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on this issue.

The court may consider any of the following factors in determining whether to grant a deviation: (1) Special and unusual needs of the children; (2) Extraordinary obligations for minor children or obligations for handicapped children who are not stepchildren and who are not offspring from the marriage or relationship that is the basis of the immediate child support determination; (3) Other court-ordered payments; (4) Extended parenting time or extraordinary costs associated with parenting time, provided that this division does not authorize and shall not be construed as authorizing any deviation from the schedule and the applicable worksheet, through the line establishing the actual annual obligation, or any escrowing, impoundment, or withholding of child support because of a denial of or interference with a right of parenting time granted by court order; (5) The obligor obtaining additional employment after a child support order is issued in order to support a second family; (6) The financial resources and the earning ability of the child; (7) Disparity in income between parties or households; (8) Benefits that either parent receives from remarriage or sharing living expenses with another person; (9) The amount of federal, state, and local taxes actually paid or estimated to be paid by a parent or both of the parents; (10) Significant in-kind contributions from a parent, including, but not limited to, direct payment for lessons, sports equipment, schooling, or clothing; (11) The relative financial resources, other assets and resources, and needs of each parent; (12) The standard of living and circumstances of each parent and the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage continued or had the parents been married; (13) The physical and emotional condition and needs of the child; (14) The need and capacity of the child for an education and the educational opportunities that would have been available to the child had the circumstances requiring a court order for support not arisen; (15) The responsibility of each parent for the support of others; (P) Any other relevant factor. (Ohio Code - Sections: 3105.71 and 3113.217)

Copyright Notice: These Ohio divorce laws above are copyrighted by 3 Step Solutions, LLC. This abbreviated and revised version of the state laws has been compiled from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction in any fashion is prohibited. Violation of this copyright notice may result in immediate legal action.

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