Ohio Legal Separation Papers & Divorce Information and FAQ

The State of Ohio permits judgements of divorce and dissolution of marriage to be granted upon the following grounds: 1. Bigamy 2. Willful absence of the adverse party for one year 3. Adultery 4. Extreme cruelty 5. Fraudulent contract 6. Gross neglect of duty 7. Habitual drunkenness 8. Imprisonment of the adverse party 9. Procurement of a divorce outside the State by a party which releases the party who obtained it from the obligations of marriage while the obligations remained binding on the other party 10. Living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year without interruption 11. Incompatibility of the parties. 3105.01

Residency requirements In actions for divorce in the State of Ohio, the filing party must have resided in the State of Ohio for at least six months immediately prior to the filing of the complaint. In addition, the filing party must have resided in the county in which the complaint is filed for at least ninety days immediately prior to the filing of the complaint. In actions for dissolution of marriage, the filing party must have resided in the State of Ohio for at least six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition for dissolution. 3105.03,3105.62, CivR 3

Name of court and title of action/parties Actions for divorce and dissolution of marriage are filed in the Court of Common Pleas. The title of the action initiating an action for divorce is a Complaint, while the title of an action initiating an action for dissolution of marriage is a Petition. The title of the action granting the divorce is a Decree of Divorce, and the title of the action granting the dissolution of marriage is a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. The filing party is known as the Petitioner if the action is for dissolution and the Plaintiff if the action is one for divorce. The other party in an action for dissolution is referred to as the Co-Petitioner, and if the action is for divorce, the Defendant. 3105.011

Legal separation The State of Ohio permits jusgements of legal separation to be granted upon the following grounds: 1. Bigamy 2. Willful absence of the adverse party for one year 3. Adultery 4. Extreme cruelty 5. Fraudulent contract 6. Gross neglect of duty 7. Habitual drunkenness 8. Imprisonment 9. Living separate and apart without cohabitation for one uninterrupted year 10. Incompatibility. 3105.17

Simplified divorce procedure If the parties agree to all terms, they may jointly file a petition for dissolution of marriage. The petition must be signed by both parties and have attached a separation agreement providing for division of property, spousal support, allocation of parental rights, visitation and custody, and child support. Both parties must appear before the court and if the court is satisfied with the parties' testimony and the terms of the agreement, the court will grant the dissolution of marriage. 3105.63

Alimony Either party may be ordered to pay alimony to the other spouse after consideration of the following factors: 1. The income of the parties 2. The relative earning abilities of the parties 3. The ages and physical, mental and emotional condition 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 to seek outside employment due to custody of a minor child 7. The standard of living established during the marriage 8. The relative extent of education of the parties 9. The relative assets and liabilities of the parties 10. The contribution of each party to the education, training, or earning ability of the other party 11. The time and expense necessary for the spouse seeking alimony to aquire education, training or job experience to enable that spouse to obtain appropriate employment 12. The tax consequences to the parties 13. The lost income production capacity due to marital responsibilities 14. Any other relevant factor. 3105.18

Distribution of property In making a division of marital property, the court shall consider all of the following factors: 1. The duration of the marriage 2. The assets and liabilities of the spouses 3. 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 4. The liquidity of the property to be distributed 5. The economic desirability of retaining intact an asset or an interest in an asset 6. The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective awards to be made to each spouse 7. The costs of sale, if it is necessary that an asset be sold to effectuate an equitable distribution of property 8. Any division or disbursement of property made in a separation agreement that was voluntarily entered into by the spouses 9. Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable. 3105.171

Child Custody Custody of minor children of the marriage will be determined according to the child's best interest. Factors the court will consider in determining the best interests of the child include: 1. The wishes of the child's parents 2. The wishes of the child 3. The child's interaction and interrelationship with parents, siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest 4. The child's adjustment to home, school and community 5. The mental and physical health of all involved 6. Which parent is 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, including arrearages 8. Whether either parent has been convicted of a criminal offense which resulted in the child being an abused or neglected child 9. Whether the residential parent has continuously and willfully denied the other parent's right to parenting time in accordance with a court order 10. Whether either parent has established a residence or is planning to establish a residence outside of the State of Ohio. 3109.04

Child support In any action in which a court child support order is issued or modified, the court or agency shall calculate the amount of the obligor's child support obligation in accordance with the basic child support schedule. The court or agency shall specify the support obligation as a monthly amount due and shall order the support obligation to be paid in periodic increments as it determines to be in the best interest of the children. The amount of child support that would be payable as calculated pursuant to the basic child support schedule is rebuttably presumed to be the correct amount of child support due. The court may order an amount of child support that deviates from the amount of child support that would otherwise result from the use of the basic child support schedule if the court determines that the amount calculated pursuant to the basic child support schedule would be unjust or inappropriate and would not be in the best interest of the child. If it deviates, the court must enter in the journal the amount of child support calculated pursuant to the basic child support schedule, its determination that that amount would be unjust or inappropriate and would not be in the best interest of the child, and findings of fact supporting that determination.

Factors the court will consider in determining whether to grant a deviation from the child support guidelines include:

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;

16. Any other relevant factor. 3109.05

Conciliation/mediation The court may, on its own motion or on motion of one of the parties, order the parties to undergo conciliation. If children are involved, the court may order the parties to take part in family counseling during the course of the proceedings or for any reasonable length of time. 3105.091 Name change 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. 3105.16

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