Protecting your rights & safeguarding your children’s future
Cuyahoga County, Ohio General Divorce Information
Q: Is Ohio a “fault-based” or “no-fault” state?
A: Ohio offers both options to terminate a marriage. A Dissolution is a “no-fault” option, and there are no grounds required. Both spouses must agree to the termination and to all terms. However, when the spouses cannot agree on terms or one spouse sues the other to end a marriage, this is called a Divorce, which may assert either “fault-based” grounds or “no-fault” grounds. To obtain a “no-fault” divorce you may assert incompatibility or that you have lived separate and apart for at least one year. Asserting fault to get a divorce is fairly uncommon. Ohio “Fault-based” grounds include extreme cruelty, bigamy, fraud, abandonment for at least a year, adultery, habitual drunkenness, gross neglect of duty, incarceration or an out of state divorce.
Q How can I legally obtain a divorce in Ohio?
A: To obtain an Ohio divorce, you must live in the state for at least six months before filing a “complaint” in county court. You will need to have your spouse served with the divorce papers as well. Your spouse must then file an “answer” admitting or denying the allegations in your complaint. Your spouse may also file a “counter claim” against you. Either of you may request temporary orders for spousal support, parental rights, child support and other vital terms while your divorce is pending. You will likely need to participate in a couple pre-trial hearings to determine whether you and your spouse can reach an agreement on terms. A final hearing or trial will lead to termination of your marriage and final orders.
Q How do I file for a dissolution?
A: You and your spouse must negotiate and agree to terms for property and debt division, any applicable spousal support, child support, and parental rights and responsibilities. You will detail these terms in a separation agreement. One of you must have resided in Ohio for a minimum of six months prior to pursuing your dissolution. You and your spouse will file a joint petition for dissolution asking the county court to approve your attached separation agreement and dissolve your marriage. You will attend a hearing set by the court to testify before the judge that you wish to dissolve your marriage and have entered into your agreement voluntarily.
Q Is it necessary to retain a Divorce Lawyer?
A: While a divorce lawyer isn’t a requirement, it’s definitely advised. When you seek a divorce, you are asking the court to resolve your issues and make crucial decisions about your children, your finances and your property. An experienced Ohio divorce lawyer can guide you through this process, protect your rights and help you negotiate satisfactory terms that you can live with.
Q How long will it take to get a divorce?
A: It’s difficult to determine how long your divorce will take without reviewing your individual circumstances. A contested divorce will obviously take longer than an uncontested one. The average length for a contested divorce with no children is 12 months. If you have children, the average length is 18 months.
Q How long does a dissolution take?
A: You and your spouse may obtain a dissolution between 30 and 90 days after filing your Petition and Separation Agreement.
Q Is collaborative divorce a good option?
A: If you and your spouse are having trouble agreeing on the terms of your divorce, but you are both motivated to resolve these issues, a collaborative divorce is likely a very good option for you.
If you have additional questions about obtaining a divorce in Cuyahoga County, the attorneys at Laubacher & Co. can assist you. Call us at 855-701-1004 to learn more.