Understanding Divorce, Dissolution, and Legal Separation in Ohio

While no one enters into a marriage with expectation or belief that it will end prematurely, the stark reality remains that divorces occur every day throughout the country and happen in all types of marriages. If either you or your spouse decides to terminate a marriage, the best thing you can do is to have a firm grasp of the process and to understand your rights. The following information provides a brief overview of the divorce process in Ohio.

Divorce and Annulment

Divorce is the process by which either spouse petitions a court to terminate a marriage and the legal rights and obligations the spouses have in a marriage. Under Ohio law, a court may grant a divorce only in certain situations, including but not limited to:

● Either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage from which the divorce is sought;
● Willful absence of the adverse party for one year;
● Adultery;
● Extreme cruelty;
● Any gross neglect of duty;
● Habitual drunkenness;
● Incompatibility, unless denied by either party; and
● Imprisonment of the adverse party in a state or federal correctional institution at the time of filing the complaint.

A spouse may also move to annul a marriage. Similar to a divorce, an annulment terminates a marriage; however, annulment has the effect as though the marriage never took place. But there are limited circumstances under which a marriage may be annulled. For example, if either party has been adjudicated to be mentally incompetent then a marriage may be annulled, unless the mentally incompetent person after being restored to competency cohabited with the other as husband or wife. Also, if the consent to marriage was obtained by fraud or force then the marriage may be annulled, unless the parties cohabitate afterwards as husband or wife.

To file for divorce or annulment, the moving party must have been a resident of Ohio at least six months preceding the filing of either action.


Dissolution is another process by which a husband or spouse may terminate a marriage. Unlike a divorce, which is contested, dissolution is where the parties agree to jointly terminate the marriage. In action for dissolution, the parties jointly sign a petition for dissolution, which includes a separation agreement agreed to by both spouses. The separation agreement must include a division of all property, spousal support, and allocation of parental rights (if there are children).

Generally, within 30 days of filing a petition for dissolution, the parties must appear before the court and acknowledge under oath that the parties have voluntarily entered into a separation agreement and are satisfied with its terms. Any time before a final judgment is entered in a divorce action, the parties may change an action to divorce into an action for dissolution. In order to do this, the parties simply file a motion with the court where the divorce action is pending. Once converted, the action proceeds according to the rules regarding dissolution of marriage.

Legal Separation

In a legal separation, the parties choose to live separately, but choose to not terminate the marriage. Similar to a separation agreement in dissolution, the parties may enter into an agreement that provides for child support, division of property, and allocation of parental rights. For one reason or another, legal separation may be appropriate for a couple who does not want to divorce and who want to remain legally married.

Contact an Ohio Divorce Attorney

If you any questions regarding divorce in Ohio, Laubacher & Co.'s Cleveland divorce attorneys can answer all your questions. Contact our divorce attorneys today for a free initial consultation.

Consent to Adoption Under Ohio Law

/in Adoption, Divorce /

Consent to adoption "refers to the agreement by a parent, or a person or agency acting in place of a parent, to relinquish a child for adoption and release all rights and duties with respect to that child." Each state has different regulations governing consent to adoption. Under Ohio Law, unless an exception applies, a petition to adopt a minor may be granted only if consent is provided.

When and How to Execute Consent?

In order to give the requisite consent to adoption under Ohio law, written consent must be given by all of the following individuals:

  • The mother of the minor;
  • The father of the minor, if certain situations apply, such as if the minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother;
  • The putative father of the minor;
  • Any person or agency having permanent custody of the minor or authorized by court order to consent; and
  • A minor more than 12 years of age, unless the court determines consent is not necessary.

A putative father is someone who may be a child's father, but is not married to the child's mother on or before the date that the child is born, or someone who has not established paternity of the child in a court proceeding before the filing of an adoption petition for the child. A putative father is required to register with Ohio's Putative Father Registry within 30 days of the birth of the minor, otherwise a child may be adopted without the putative father's consent.

If consent is required to an adoption proceeding, Ohio law mandates certain requirements must be followed to properly complete an adoption. Notably, consent to adoption cannot be executed until at least 72 hours after the birth of minor. This law is in place to ensure that the biological parent has sufficient time to process the recent birth of the minor and to understand the implications of giving legal custody of one's child to another family. Once consent may be given, the parent of the person to be adopted must appear before the court and complete a prescribed court form.

When is Consent Unnecessary?

Parental consent, however, is not required in every situation; there are certain exceptions. Examples include the following:

  • A parent has failed to communicate or support the minor for at least 1 year;
  • Parental rights have been terminated; or
  • A parent who is married to the petitioner and supports the adoption.

This, however, is not an exhaustive list. Importantly, the Ohio legislature enacted changes last year to law for when consent is unnecessary. Specifically, Ohio changed the required time period for when a putative father must register from 30 days to 15 days. If the putative father fails to register with the putative father registry within 15 days after the minor's birth, the putative father's consent is unnecessary to the adoption. The new law does not go in effect until 23 March 2015.

Contact a Cleveland Adoption Attorney For Advice

If you have questions regarding the adoption process in Ohio or when consent is or is not required, an experienced Cleveland adoption attorney can help you understand the adoption process. Laubacher & Co. employs a team of knowledgeable attorneys who have extensive experience helping families through the adoption process to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

In addition to adoption law services, Laubacher & Co.'s attorneys are experienced in a variety of family law issues. From marital agreements to divorce proceedings (and everything in between), Laubacher & Co. can help you with all your family law needs. Contact one of our experienced Cleveland adoption and family law attorneys for a free initial consultation. You can call us at 440-356-5700 or visit with one of our attorneys at 20525 Center Ridge Road, Suite 626, Cleveland, OH 44116.

How to Celebrate Valentines Day as a Divorced Parent

/in Divorce, Family law /

Celebrate Valentine's Day As A Divorced Parent

How To Celebrate Valentine's Day As A Divorced Parent

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and, as a result, it seems as though everyone is making plans for how they will spend the day with their significant other.

But what about those who are currently considering the option of divorce and will be spending the holiday as a divorced parent?

As family law attorneys, we have a very personal view and understanding of the readjustment process parents have to go through following a divorce. That said, it is often hard for parents who are in the midst of a divorce to figure out the right wayto spend holidays that are generally spent with the entire family or a significant other.

Well, this Valentine's Day doesn't have to be depressing or even unenjoyable if you and your spouse are in the middle of a divorce or a dissolution of marriage. Chances are, your biggest concern is how the holiday will play out for your children who are more than likely used to being with both parents during times like this.

To help you stay motivated to be the pillar of support and affection your children need even through holidays that are reserved for spending time with a significant other, here are three tips for celebrating Valentine's Day as a divorced parent.

Focus on Your Child(ren)

The biggest challenge you'll face is trying to avoid being overcome by the raw emotions that commonly consume individuals who are experiencing, or have recently experienced - a divorce. Hence, focusing on your children will help with motivating you to rise above those emotions and spend your time expressing your love and affection for them.

Your goal is to find new ways to keep your children excited about holidays like these. If you are depressed about your situation, those emotions are likely to your children and the road following your divorce will become that much harder. Remember, to your children, your role as a parent is even more important than it already was now that you and your spouse are no longer married.

Stay Busy with other Priorities

Somehow, someway the holidays seem to go by slowly following a divorce. That's generally because divorced parents do not have the energy or spirit to carry out the activities that they use to engage in when they were married - leaving a lot of time on their hands.

However, when you are divorcing, one of the major adjustments that will take place will have a lot to do with how you are handling your priorities. So, you'll want to ensure that your new agenda or schedule is able to keep your focused on those priorities even when a holiday such as Valentine's Day does roll around.

Consider Starting New Traditions

If it is just too hard for you to carry out the same traditions with your children as you did when you were married, consider starting new ones. Your children will appreciate this just as much as you will.

New traditions will help you base your celebrations around your new family set-up and the plans and interests of you and your children moving forward.

Laubacher & Co. Wants to Speak with You about Your Divorce Options

For some, all roads seem to lead to divorce despite any alternatives that have been considered. If this is the case for you and your spouse, and the next move to be made is going through with the divorce process, allow our Laubacher & Co. family law attorneys to be your legal representation for the divorce process.

We want to talk to you about your rights and remedies so we can help you make the best decision possible regarding your divorce or the dissolution of your marriage.

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