What is a Contested Divorce in Ohio?

In layman’s terms, a contested divorce means that the process isn’t going smoothly and the involved parties are not agreeing on any number of things. Finalizing the divorce is not going to be a genial walk in the park. In fact, it may be a very painful and drawn out process for both parties.

The difference in contested and uncontested

When a divorce is not contested or is un-contested, the spouses do not require the court to intervene and determine child or spousal support or custody or the division of assets. The parties agree on what needs to be done and as a result the divorce marches through the system quickly, is less complicated and not a huge financial drain on either party.

On the other hand, a contested divorce means that the parties can’t agree on something; maybe on a lot of things. One party or the other objects to the division of the assets; child support; general terms of the divorces; custody of the children; alimony or allocation of debts.

Adversarial

A contested divorce is adversarial. In an uncontested divorce, the parties are working together and present an agreement to the court for its approval. In a contested divorce there may be disputes about property, among other things, and if this cannot be resolved a trial may be required to settle the matter. The court then decides the outcome. In essence the court has to serve as the referee.

A contested divorce can mean that one of the parties doesn’t want a divorce and is hoping to prevent it. The actual divorce, rather than the terms of the divorce, is being contested. Mostly, though, a contested divorce refers to cases where the parties both want to end their marriage but simply cannot agree on the issues before them.

The Process

When a divorce is contested, the actual process includes serving the divorce petition on your spouse; your spouse then responds and discovery is held. Discovery means that each spouse must provide information about their income and assets and anything that is relevant to the case. Discovery is achieved via document requests, depositions and written interrogatories. Spouses can make requests for temporary alimony or child support at this time.

A judge will attempt to get the parties to come to an agreement, or a settlement, rather than going to trial. The judge may encourage mediation, using a third, neutral party whose job is to help the couple resolve the issues. If this doesn’t work, then the case goes to trial. At the trial, each side will give testimony and each will be cross-examined. Witnesses will appear.

Uncontested

In most cases, if a divorce is uncontested and you are the plaintiff, you will show up in court and testify but your spouse, who is not contesting the divorce, isn’t required to appear. An uncontested divorce is sometimes called a collaborative divorce.

Divorce can be contentious so it stands to reason that contested divorces are more common than uncontested ones. When a couple can not come to a resolution, the judge will look at the facts and determine the outcome for them.

Divorce Advice from Someone Who’s Live Through It

It’s common but always painful: divorce. Even if you were the one who made the decision to end your marriage, you need to take care of yourself. Here are a few tips from someone who has lived through it twice.

Determine whether you need to fight

Divorce papers bring out the fighter in most of us, but if there are no hot issues, such as disputed property division or child custody, set down your boxing gloves. Instead, use the time to understand what has ended and why.

Get an attorney whose personality is the opposite of your own
If you are reasonable and rational, get a maniac. If you are emotional, get someone calm and unflappable. You are a team and teams work better if all perspectives are represented.

Decide your highest priorities

No matter how strong your case, you are not likely to get everything you want. Be sure you know the one or two issues that matter most to you and remind yourself of them every time you talk to your attorney.

Resolve amicably if reasonably possible, even if trial might bring you more
Taking it to the limit has its price; it is certain to put money in lawyers’ pockets and eat up a chunk of your life. Know the inside and outside boundaries of your “fair share” and be willing to settle somewhere near them.

Use a personal spam filter

Your friends and family might think they are doing you a favor by reporting sightings of your soon-to-be ex, but they are not. Whether she/he is seen out on the town with a stunning someone or alone crying, the news is certain to engage your feelings, feelings that should be reserved for helping yourself adjust.

Do not spend “quality time” with your soon-to-be ex

It is astonishing how easy it is to spend time — including night time — with a former spouse. You are lonely; they are familiar. But avoid it in the same way and for the same reasons that you would avoid eating a gallon of ice cream or drinking a bottle of whiskey: the price is brutal.

Get some unconditional love into your life

Dog, cat, even a rabbit or parrot will do. If your life can accommodate a pet, get one. You will have someone to talk to when you are alone, plus an excuse for continuing to say “we”, as in: “We’re staying by the fire this morning.”

Tap into someone else’s life for the interim

The feeling that your life is a catastrophe usually occurs at three in the morning. Keep a great book, or better yet series of books, ready to step in. I used Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta for my first divorce, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch for my second.

Plan a vacation for when it’s over

Whether it’s a cruise down the Nile or a weekend in a nearby city, plan something exciting that you have never done before — it will help you remember that that’s how you want to view the rest of your life.

Free Ohio Divorce Records

Divorce records have been made public records via the Freedom of Information Act of 1966. Because they are public records they fall under the jurisdiction of the state and are maintained by repositories of the state.

City and county courthouses, from where the records are uploaded, are normally maintained by city and county repositories. A majority of these documents and their information can be found online.

Ohio Divorce Records Online

Because divorce records are rather private, most states have imposed a degree of restriction on their use and accessibility. Nevertheless they are still deemed public records, which allows anyone to access anyone else’s public divorce records. This can only happen if the proper procedures are followed and complied by.

Divorce Record Usage

Public divorce records can be searched for many reasons. One of these reasons includes finding past information on a future relative, in-law, or spouse. Some search through concern for friends. There are official uses for search divorce records also.

These include cases of remarriage after a past divorce. This kind of search is done to confirm that the divorce was properly completed as well as to acquire the document for the application of a current marriage license. Some cases of this also require the production of a certified copy of the Divorce Certificate.

There are other uses of divorce records. These include the location of biological parents from adopted children – which can be done the other way around too – genealogy research, and establishment of identity and inheritance status in specific matters and claims.

Some choose to use public record divorce records for wrongful uses, which can include blackmail, campaign smearing, and ransom bargains.

Obtaining Ohio Public Divorce Records

Obtaining public divorce records can happen in many different ways. A record may be received upon request via mail, fax, telephone, or personal walk-in. Even as these are the ways used most commonly in the past, the new most commonly used way of obtaining divorce records is via the Internet. This is because the Internet is the fastest way where records may be downloaded electronically.

Records can be obtained in two ways: paid or free-of-charge. The paid version of most records is often the best way to approach. Even as it involves money, formal and official purposes often require quality over speed. The purchased records are often in the best condition possible.

Records that are obtained over the Internet are fast but, at times, are not able to be used in official and formal uses, such as court proceedings.

What Can be Learned from Divorce Records?

The information found in divorce records can be valuable and can also vary from record to records. Some records may state that a person was divorced on the grounds of violence or abuse, while another may say a person was divorced on the grounds of infidelity. Some records open the knowledge of a person’s past, such as drug abuse, alcohol usage, and rehabilitations.

Divorce records also give the information of children involved, child custody, reason for divorce, time and location of the marriage and divorce, as well as alimony, settlements, filing number, restraining orders, asset division, and final decree.

No Fault Divorce in Ohio

What is No-Fault Divorce?

Back in the day, divorces were not so easy to come by as they are in today’s society. Someone seeking a divorce could only obtain one by showing that his or her spouse was at fault and had committed an act warranting a divorce. Irreconcilable differences was not an option.

Prior to no-fault divorce hitting the scene, a divorce applicant typically had to allege such things as adultery, felony, abandonment, or some other act that would rise to the level of requiring a dissolution of the marriage. The other spouse could still seek to defend against and fight the divorce petition.

What Is the Difference Between Dissolution and Divorce?

As previously stated, a dissolution must be amicable, and the parties must be able to collaborate to negotiate the terms of their separation agreement. The court’s only role is to review and approve the final agreement before granting the termination.

A divorce, like dissolution, can be no-fault, but that is where the similarities end. Divorces can also be fault-based, which means that one party can claim that the other party’s actions caused the marriage to end.

In a divorce, the parties are not required to agree on any of the terms of their settlement and may contest everything from property division to child custody arrangements. Because the parties are unable to reach an agreement on their own, they may petition the court to make a final decision for them.

Dissolutions are generally the best option when the parties can communicate and make decisions together. Divorces are more appropriate when the parties disagree on a wide range of issues or are unable to work together.

The Introduction of Ohio No-Fault Divorce

In 1970, California introduced the concept of no-fault divorce in the United States. This concept of no-fault in a divorce is one in which one petitioning for a divorce is not required to show any wrongdoing on the part of his or her spouse in order to be granted a dissolution of the marriage. The court can simply grant a request for divorce without any evidentiary showings of a marital contract breach or legal defenses the respondent spouse may have to keep the marriage intact.

Prior to the establishment of no-fault divorce, those seeking a divorce would often try to find ways to bypass the fault requirements in order to obtain a divorce. Having a showing-of-fault requirement could be quite difficult when both spouses had some culpability yet both did not consent to dissolving the marriage. As a result, legal fictions started arising as a way to creatively get around the statutory fault showing requirement.

Advantages and Disadvantages to the No-Fault Divorce System

There are many advantages to the use of the no-fault divorce system. Although the institution of marriage is certainly important, it gives individuals more say in their own relationships. Many would argue that requiring spouses to remain in a marriage that is unhappy or, for whatever reason, should not be maintained, is giving the government too much control in people’s private lives.

Having a no-fault system may also end up sparing spouses from enduring harm, including emotional and physical, at the hands of the other spouse who may seek a dangerous way to get out of the marriage. Since the parties do not need to focus on making evidentiary showings of fault, the divorce can be less expensive, as it makes it easier and faster to obtain a divorce. There is no longer a drawn out process.

On the other hand, many would say that removing the showing-of-fault requirement makes it so easy to obtain a divorce that people will no longer respect the institution of marriage. It makes it very easy to get married on a whim, as people can easily get out of it. This may end up resulting in a clogging of the court system as more people choose to petition for divorce since their own culpability will not be at issue.

States Who Have Adopted No-Fault Divorce

Pretty much every single state in the United States has followed California’s lead in adopting a no-fault divorce system. Indeed, by 1983, every single state except New York and South Dakota had instituted some form of the no-fault divorce concept.

In 1985, South Dakota joined the no-fault divorce bandwagon. In New York, there is not a true no-fault divorce system. However, if both spouses enter into a notarized separation agreement and then live separately for a full year, it can be converted to a divorce by the family law judge.

Columbus Ohio Divorce Cost

Getting divorced certainly is not cheap. Aside from the ultimate payout of assets, spousal support and child support, the process itself can be quite costly. Here is a basic rundown of the typical costs involved in getting a divorce.

Court Costs

Every divorce involves some court costs. These are the filing fees that you have to pay to the court when filing certain documents with the court. The main fee that is paid is to file the petition for divorce, which varies by county and state, but can range somewhere between $120 to $300. If certain motions are filed with the court, then there will be a small fee for that as well.

If both parties do not hire attorneys or anyone else, such as an arbitrator, to provide professional assistance in the divorce process, then it is possible that a divorce could cost around $500 to $1,000.00. However, this is a very rare occurrence, except in the most amicable and trusting of divorces where the parties quickly settle the matter and without the assistance of any legal professionals.

Legal Professional Costs

Most people will hire some sort of legal professional to assist them in the divorce process. The most common situation is when both sides hire divorce attorneys to handle their cases. However, sometimes people, in an attempt to keep the cost of their divorces down, will hire an arbitrator who will preside over negotiations for the couple getting divorced.

Arbitrator Costs

The cost of any divorce will largely depend on how contentious the divorce is. As such, a couple who is willing to work together and keep emotions, especially feelings of hurt and anger, out of the equation can get divorced rather inexpensively. On the other hand, couples who allow emotions to run their cases and who fight each other every step of the way will find that they will spend a lot more money on their divorces.

When a divorce is not riddled by a lot of fighting, people are much better able to get through it simply using an arbitrator to mediate their negotiations and to assist in coming to a final settlement. The parties will meet with the arbitrator/mediator at least more than once, but the frequency will depend upon the difficulty the parties are having in coming to a final resolution on all aspects of the divorce.

The more often the parties need to meet with the arbitrator to reach a settlement in their divorce, the more money it will cost them. An arbitrator in a divorce can cost from as low as a couple thousand dollars to upwards of about $10,000.00. The divorce can cost even more if the attempts to use an arbitrator are unsuccessful and the parties must then go out and each hire their own separate attorneys.

Ohio Divorce Attorney Fees

Attorney’s fees are by far the most expensive cost in a divorce, aside from the actual settlement between the parties. Even with hiring an attorney, the cost will vary. If the parties are relatively amicable and work in a cooperative manner to come to a quick resolution of their matter, then the fees should not be very high. A relatively amicable divorce can cost between $5,000 to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, possibly a little more if there are child custody issues to be addressed.

If the parties are fighting it out, then the case could drag on, potentially costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. The more emotion and anger the parties allow to interfere in the process and the more they fight over assets, children, etc., the more expensive the case will be. If the divorce proceeds to trial, rather than being settled, it will cost a lot more money.

Since most people do not go through a divorce without legal representation, the average cost of a divorce that is not highly contentious is around $10,000 to $20,000. It is in everyone’s best interest to keep it cooperative and avoid unnecessary fighting in order to keep costs low. Otherwise, your divorce may cost six figures.

How is a Divorce Decree Obtained in Ohio

A divorce decree is the document which officially grants a divorce. It is an order issued by the court having jurisdiction over the matter. Once a judge has issued a divorce decree, the parties are officially divorced.

Who Is Authorized to Issue a Divorce Decree?

Only the court, through a judge in the proper court, may issue a divorce decree. Even if the parties to a divorce enter into a settlement agreement, the Family Court judge must approve the agreement and issue an order, which he signs, specifically granting the divorce and officially terminating the marital relationship.

How is an Ohio Divorce Decree Obtained?

The first step in obtaining a divorce is filing a petition for divorce in the appropriate court. There may be many different courts which have jurisdiction over the issue. Typically, one can file for divorce in the state in which the couple were married, the state in which the filing spouse resides and the state in which the non-filing spouse resides.

The petition for divorce must be served on the other spouse, providing him or her notice of the requested divorce. This will commence the legal process.

What Happens After The Divorce Petition has been Filed and Served?

Once the divorce process has commenced, it is typically up to the parties to try to work through the process and come to an agreement as to the division of any and all marital assets. If there are children from the marriage, custody and child support will also need to be worked out. Often times, spousal support will also be sought by one party to the divorce.

The best case scenario is where the parties are able to reach a settlement as to all assets, custody and spousal support, resulting in a settlement agreement which can be filed with the court. Frequently, however, court intervention is required to resolve some, if not all, of these issues.

Typically in divorce proceedings, there will be at least one court hearing the parties will need to attend. This initial hearing is somewhat of a status check, where the court establishes which judge will be hearing the case, should the divorce proceed to trial, and to see where the parties are in reaching an agreement. When there is an issue of custody, many courts require a special custody mediation, with the mediator providing a recommendation to the court as to physical and legal custody.

Most states have mandatory formulas that are used to calculate spousal and/or child support. A party can always request the court order a higher or lower amount, but it is unlikely such a request will be granted.

Two Ways an Ohio Divorce Can Be Granted

Ultimately, a divorce proceeding will end in one of two ways. A settlement will be reached with the parties signing a written settlement agreement, which will include a final disposition of all marital property, custody arrangements, child support, and spousal support. The settlement agreement will be filed with the court, where the judge will enter it into the record and sign an order granting the divorce based upon the terms of the agreement.

If a settlement agreement is not reached, then the case will proceed to trial. A judgment will be rendered, with an order signed by the judge granting the divorce. This judgment and order will include all of the terms of the divorce that were decided in the trial.

Most Divorces Have a Mandatory Waiting Period

It is important to note that most states have a mandatory waiting period before a divorce can be deemed final. Typically, that period of time begins at the moment that the petition for divorce has been served on the other party. Even if the parties reach an agreement earlier, the divorce will not be deemed final or official until that waiting period has ended.

Hire An Attorney

If you are considering filing for divorce or have been served with divorce papers, it is best to consult with an Ohio attorney specializing in family and divorce law. This is the best way to protect your rights and ensure the best outcome for you and your children.

Pros and Cons of Mediation in Ohio Divorces

The goal of mediation is for you and your spouse to enter into a mediated settlement agreement in an Ohio divorce.

You can reach an agreement as to the entire case or as to specific issues, and leave to the judge those things you cannot agree about. But in all cases, the agreement is put in writing and filed in your divorce case. If you have an agreement before you have filed a divorce case, your mediated divorce settlement agreement will usually be filed with the other divorce papers, essentially making your divorce an uncontested one.

Sometimes, the final agreement may be called a Memorandum of Understanding or sometimes Mediated Settlement Agreement. Regardless of what you name it, the important thing to understand about these mediated agreements is that they are treated like any other contract, and once signed become binding If you change your mind for any reason and later want the judge to relieve you from what you agreed to do, you will have to litigate that. Litigation to try and get a settlement agreement set aside is costly; and depending on the facts of your case, may not be successful.

Divorce Mediation Columbus Ohio

Because these agreements can bind you, it is important that you understand the legal significance of what you are agreeing to.  The only option to understand the legal significance of your agreement is to have an attorney review the agreement before you sign it.  This is not a problem if you are represented by a divorce lawyer since that is what lawyers are supposed to do for you—make sure you understand the legal consequences.

If you have attended mediation without a lawyer, you can still have a divorce lawyer review that mediated divorce agreement for you.  This doesn’t mean hiring a lawyer to do the divorce but simply hiring them to review the agreement with you and answer all your questions or give you a heads up as to what you should be concerned about.

Now that you know more about the divorce mediation process, it will be easier to see the major benefits of using mediation for your divorce.

These major benefits are control, certainty of the outcome, confidentiality, and savings on legal fees.

Control

In a mediation, you and your spouse decide what issues to settle, and with how much detail and flexibility given your individual interests and goals.  Divorce trials, or the litigated divorce process itself, does not leave a lot of control in the hands of the couple getting divorce; control is left in the hands of the judge.

Courts have rules and procedures to follow to make sure there is an opportunity for each side to present their case.  These rules and procedures include time frames to get and present evidence, whether that evidence is documents or witnesses.

A different set of rules for evidence also limits what evidence you can present to the court.

By contrast, in a mediation you and your spouse set the pace of the mediation.  But, perhaps more important, since the rules of evidence do not apply in a mediation, you and your spouse can consider whatever documents you want to present to the other to make sure that everything is fully discussed and decided on by the two of you.

Mediation do have rules or principles, and the mediator will tell you what they are at the start of the mediation; but compared to the rules in the judicial system itself, they are rather few.

Certainty of Outcome

Since in mediation you and your spouse work on getting the results you want, you have a pretty good idea of what the outcome of the divorce will be once you both reach an agreement.  You and your spouse can continue to work together to hash out your differences and get them written into an agreement that will work for you.

Contrast that with the outcome in a divorce trial:  the decisions made in a divorce trial will be made by the judge.  At the beginning of a litigated divorce case you know what you want.  As the case moves along, each of you will have limitations imposed by any number of things, from the cost of getting evidence to the ability to pay for legal fees as the case drags on.  Each of you will have to present evidence as to why the judge should rule in your favor.

But the bottom line is that until the judge renders their decision, you will not know what that decision is or even if it will give you some of the things you wanted.

The biggest downside of that litigated process is that if, after going through a trial, you do not like the result, you will have to appeal the judge’s decision.  This is true whether you disagree with the decision the judge made on one question or on the entire case.

Confidentiality

When it comes to confidentiality, mediating a divorce provides quite a bit more than a divorce trial.

All communication in a mediation is confidential, except for certain exceptions provided by law.

What this means to you and your spouse is that you are both free to engage in discussions to reach an agreement without having to worry that anything either of you say during the negotiations may later be used against you in court.

In Ohio, divorce trials are open to the public.  Court files created in a litigated case are also a matter of public record.  The end result is that the details of your married life are exposed for nearly anyone to learn about.

In a sense, mediation limits what you make public.  Of course, once you and your spouse have reached an agreement and you put that in writing,  the agreement itself is usually not confidential and is filed with the court.

Save on Legal and Other Litigation Fees

If you start at the mediation stage without lawyers before filing for divorce, you may very well end up with an agreement.  Ohio divorces with mediated agreements are uncontested divorces.

Since you are dealing directly with your spouse and without lawyers, each of you will probably save a substantial amount in legal fees.  Since there is no litigation involved, you end up saving on other fees related to litigation such as subpoenas, service of process, court reporters, etc.

If you want to explore using a mediator first, get a list of certified Phio divorce mediators in your area.

Understanding Divorce Procedures in Ohio

Completing a divorce in Ohio can require going through numerous court hearings, participating in court-ordered counseling, and engaging in several rounds of negotiation with your soon-to-be ex. These processes play out over the course of at least three months and can be roughly grouped into the steps of filing, cooling off, securing pretrial orders, negotiations and mediation, and trial. Each divorce proceeding follows its own unique course, however, so having advice and representation from a caring and knowledgeable family law attorney can help you achieve your best outcomes at each step.

Filing for Divorce

Contact the Domestic Relations Court for your Ohio County to request all the forms you need to fill out. Unless you and your spouse mutually agree to end your marriage without contesting any of the reasons and while reaching amicable agreements over custody, property, and support, you must use one of the divorce court forms to state grounds for divorce. These grounds include infidelity, abuse, cruelty, and abandonment.

Filing the first set of forms constitutes making a request for a divorce decree. The court prepares the request and serves the defendant spouse (i.e., the person who did not file) with the papers.

Cooling Off

No divorce trial can be held for at least six weeks after the defendant receives the divorce papers. During this time, the judge handling the case may order you and your spouse to undergo counseling aimed at resolving the issues that led to the divorce filing. Such court-ordered counseling must be completed before a ruling in a divorce trial will be issued.

Disclosure and Pretrial Orders

Early in the cooling-off period, the defendant spouse must respond in writing to claims made in the divorce papers. This is also the period during which each spouse is required to inform the court of all their financial assets, personal and shared property, and interests in maintaining custody of the children. Consulting with an experienced Ohio divorce attorney can help you avoid problems created by not fully disclosing assets and also enable you to protect assets that are not subject to disclosure and division.

The cooling off period is also a time when the judge can issue pretrial orders regarding protection from harassment and abuse, temporary child custody and visitation, and support for a custodial or low-income spouse who lacks sufficient financial resources to maintain a household on his or her own. Each pretrial order may result from a hearing before the judge.

Negotiations and Mediation

Divorcing spouses can often agree between themselves to settle most, if not all, of the issues raised by ending a marriage. Negotiations and mediation can even constitute the entirety of the post-filing divorce process, resulting in a mutually acceptable agreement that a judge must only approve and witness the signing of.

Our family law attorneys explain mediation here. The judge handling the divorce can order that couples try this when he or she suspects that deciding a matter of custody, visitation, or property division in court will serve neither spouse as well as an agreed conclusion. Importantly, your attorney can advise you before, during, and after each negotiation or mediation session, and those discussions are generally protected by confidentiality rules.

Final Hearing and Issuing of Divorce Decree

Matters that cannot be settled by negotiation or mediation are decided by the judge. The court’s decision can be appealed by either party to a three-judge panel. When a court’s decision is considered final, both spouses must sign the resulting divorce decree to make its provisions fully enforceable.

I Want a Divorce but my Spouse is Mentally Ill, How Should I Proceed?

Mental illness recognizably has an impact on a marriage. However, in the State of Ohio insanity, serious mental illness, or drug abuse are not grounds – or reasons – for divorce.  That being said, Ohio is a “no fault” divorce state, and grounds for divorce may be cited as “incompatibility.”

Mental illness will influence issues such as visitation and custody. The court’s primary concern in custody and visitation issues is the best interests of the child or children. Mental health issues will not necessarily disqualify a parent from visitation or even custody. There is, of course, the chance that the parent could receive treatment or the condition may be mitigated by medication.

If the court thinks it is necessary, it can place restrictions to assure the child’s safety. In addition, in extreme situations where a judge would be concerned for a child’s safety with a parent, the judge can order that visitation be supervised. This means that the visit between parent and child would be conducted in someone else’s presence, such as a grandparent or a member of a social services agency. Be aware though, that a court may terminate parental rights all together if it determines that the mental illness is so severe that the parent cannot provide a permanent home for the child, or care for the child. The court will also, in the case of severing parental rights, need to see that the situation will not likely change in a one-year period.

Mental health may also play a role in property distribution and alimony. According to Ohio law, the court must consider a number of factors when determining whether to award support, the amount of support to award, and length of time support will be paid, and one of the factors the court considers in making this determination is the mental health of the spouses.  If the mental illness is so severe as to keep the spouse from being self-supporting, the court may order extra support for that spouse.

It is important to have the best representation possible, with attorneys who are familiar with psychological issues and their impact on the family dynamic.

Central Ohio Divorce Attorney

Do you need an experienced divorce attorney? Whether or not you anticipate any difficulty in your divorce, Edward F. Whipps & Associates is here to help you. If you wish to consider mediation to help resolve your divorce issues, call Edward F. Whipps & Associates to arrange an initial consultation at a mutually convenient time.

Does My Spouse Need To Agree To A Divorce

In Ohio, you may file for divorce based on either “fault” or “no-fault” grounds. No-fault grounds include incompatibility, or living separate or apart without cohabitation for one year. Fault grounds include bigamy, willful absence for one year, adultery, extreme cruelty, fraudulent inducement to marriage, gross neglect of duty, habitual drunkenness, imprisonment in a state or federal institution at the time of the filing of the complaint, or an out-of-state divorce.

While having your spouse agree to the divorce may make coming to agreement on other aspects of the divorce less contentious, it is not essential to have agreement in order to complete the divorce.  The court’s role and goal is the equitable division of any property from the marriage and the custody of your children, if any.

You may file for divorce in Ohio as long as you have lived in the state for a minimum of six months, and resided in the county in which you file for divorce for 90 days.

To begin the divorce process, you file a complaint – making you the plaintiff, and the other spouse the defendant. The defendant is served with divorce papers by the plaintiff, or by a representative of the plaintiff.

The defendant responds to the plaintiff’s complaint with an answer either admitting or denying allegations, and may raise a defense or file counter claims.  If the defendant does not answer, the plaintiff merely presents his or her case for the judge to rule on. Either spouse may request temporary orders for child support, spousal support, temporary custody, visitation rights, or even a restraining order.

The court may hold pretrial hearings to attempt an agreeable resolution. If that cannot be achieved, the court sets dates for discovery, expert reports, and evaluations and the date of a final hearing.

Another way to dissolve your marriage is through a procedure called dissolution.  Dissolution can occur when both parties agree to all terms of the dissolution such as division of the marital property, spousal support and child support, and custody. If all the particulars are already worked out, then you’re simply asking the court to agree with your agreement. This can be a less costly alternative to divorce.

Central Ohio Divorce Attorney

Whether or not you anticipate any difficulty in your divorce,we are here to help you. Contact us to arrange an initial consultation at a mutually convenient time.  You may call or email us online.