Divorce, Dissolution & Separation
Ohio law provides three ways for a husband and wife to end or alter their marriage: legal separation, dissolution, or divorce. To obtain a dissolution or divorce, you must be an Ohio resident for at least six months before filing. There is no residency requirement for persons seeking a legal separation.
What is a legal separation?
A legal separation is a legal action which does not end a marriage, but allows the court to issue orders about division of property, spousal support, and if there are minor children, child support and parenting time. The husband and wife remain married, but live separately. When the court grants a legal separation, the husband and wife must follow the court’s specific orders.
What is a dissolution?
Dissolution is a legal action which is possible when the husband and wife mutually agree to terminate their marriage. Neither party has to prove grounds to end the marriage. Dissolution is started only after the husband and wife have reached an agreement on division of property, spousal support and issues regarding minor children, if applicable. See Property, Support and Custody After the Petition for Dissolution is filed with the court, the husband and wife must wait at least 30 days before the court can hear their case. The court must hear the case no later than 90 days after the Dissolution is filed. At the hearing, the court will review the separation agreement, ask questions about assets and liabilities, and make sure the husband and wife understand and are satisfied with the settlement. If the court is satisfied that the agreement is fair, the court will grant the dissolution and order the separation agreement into effect.
What is a divorce?
A divorce is a civil lawsuit to end a marriage when the husband and wife cannot resolve their problems and ask the court to make the final decision and issue orders about property division, spousal support and any issues regarding minor children.
A divorce starts when one spouse (the plaintiff) files a complaint with the court. The plaintiff must have a reason why the divorce is being filed and eventually prove the reason for the divorce. Discuss with your attorney why you believe your spouse’s behavior justifies filing for divorce.
The court will serve the defendant by certified mail or hand delivery with a copy of the complaint and a summons to appear in court. If the defendant’s address is not known, a notice will be printed in the newspaper.
After the defendant has been served with the complaint, the defendant must file an answer with the court within 28 days. The defendant can file a counterclaim requesting a divorce and the plaintiff files a reply to answer the counterclaim.
During the course of the divorce proceedings, many divorces are settled by the husband and wife reaching an agreement. When this occurs, a separation agreement is prepared, signed by the husband and wife, and filed with the court. If the husband and wife are unable to resolve one or more of their disputed issues, those issues are presented to the court. The court will review the evidence presented and make a decision based on Ohio law.
If you have any further questions about how we can help you with your divorce dissolution needs, please contact us. Mike Jurek, Michael D. Rice and Jack Hemm all practice in the field of domestic relations and family law.