Filing for Divorce in Ohio

Filing for Divorce in Ohio

Getting a Divorce in Ohio? Divorce Law Cheat Sheet for the State of Ohio

1. What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Ohio?

You must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing, and you must file in the county in which you live.

2. Does Ohio have a waiting period?

The court may require you and your spouse to seek counseling within a period as long as 90 days; if you have children, the whole family may be ordered to take part in counseling for a period of time directed by the court.

3. Does the state have grounds for divorce?

Yes. You may file for divorce on these grounds in Ohio:

  • Your spouse had a husband or wife at the time of your marriage.
  • Your spouse has left you and has been gone for at least a year.
  • Your spouse had an affair (adultery).
  • Your spouse is extremely cruel.
  • Your spouse misrepresented something major before your marriage that would have significantly affected your decision to marry (fraudulent contract).
  • Your spouse fails to contribute toward basic necessities (gross neglect of duty).
  • Your spouse is habitually drunk.
  • Your spouse is in prison.
  • Your spouse sought a divorce outside the state of Ohio.
  • You and your spouse have lived apart for at least a year.
  • You and your spouse are incompatible.

4. How does Ohio determine the division of property?

You and your spouse are encouraged to come up with a settlement on your own and present it to the court. If you can’t agree, the court will divide your property for you.The court will divide your property in whatever way it determines is equitable, or fair. This division of property only applies to your marital property; your separate property remains your own.

The state of Ohio defines marital property as:

  • All property owned by either or both of you, including retirement benefits, that was acquired by either or both of you during your marriage.
  • Any interest in such property.
  • Any income from or appreciation of your separate property if it was a result of you or your spouse’s efforts or financial support during your marriage.
  • Any deferred compensation accounts (such as retirement plans) to which you or your spouse contributed during your marriage.

Ohio defines separate property as:

  • Property that you acquired through an inheritance.
  • Property or interest in property that you acquired before you were married.
  • Income from and appreciation of your separate property that did not result from the efforts or financial support of you or your spouse during your marriage.
  • Any property or interest in property that you acquired after legally separating.
  • Any property that is excluded from marital property by a prenuptial agreement.
  • Any compensation that you received for a personal injury, except what you received for loss of earnings that would have been marital property or as compensation for such.
  • Expenses paid with marital assets.
  • Any property that you acquired as a gift during your marriage if it was clearly given only to you.

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In determining what is fair, the court will consider:

  • How long you were married.
  • You and your spouse’s assets and debts.
  • Whether the parent who has custody should be awarded your family home or the right to live in it.
  • Whether your property can be easily liquidated, or divided.
  • Whether it would be better to keep certain assets as a whole “” components of a business, for example.
  • The tax situation you each would face after your property is divided.
  • What it would cost to sell certain assets to ensure an equitable division of property.
  • Any voluntary division of property that you and your spouse agreed to.
  • Any other factors the court considers relevant.

The court will divide your property before making any award of spousal support (alimony); this means spousal support will not affect the court’s decisions regarding your property.If one of you has been wasteful with your assets, destroyed them, hidden them or gotten rid of them through fraud, the court may give the other a bigger award of marital property as compensation.

5. Does Ohio require mediation before a divorce is granted?
Mediation isn’t always required in a divorce case, though the court may order it if you and your spouse disagree on child custody or visitation.

6. How does the state determine child custody?
Legal custody and physical custody are two different things. Legal custody outlines how involved each parent is in the major decisions of a child’s life.””.where a child goes to school, what faith he or she is raised in and other biggies.

Physical custody addresses where a child will live and with whom. Visitation is then negotiated based your physical custody arrangement.

You and your spouse may develop and submit your own plan for shared parenting. Your plan should cover living arrangements, child support, your child’s medical and dental care, school, and with whom your child will spend holidays, school breaks and other special days.If you and your spouse file a parenting plan together, the court will review it to see whether it’s in your child’s best interest and either approve it, ask you to modify it or make its own plan or revisions.

If you each file separate parenting plans, the court will review them to see whether they’re in the child’s best interest. It may approve one, it may ask each of you to make changes and resubmit your plans, or it may make its own plans and revisions.To determine your child’s best interest, the court will consider these factors:

  • You and your spouse’s wishes.
  • Your child’s wishes.
  • Your child’s relationship with each of you, his or her siblings and any other person who will play a significant role.
  • Your child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community.
  • The mental and physical health of everyone involved.
  • Which of you is more likely to honor and support visitation rights.
  • Whether either of you has failed to make any child support payments that you already are responsible for.
  • Whether there is any evidence of domestic or sexual abuse.

To see whether shared parenting fits with your child’s best interest, the court will take into account:

  • You and your spouse’s ability to cooperate in decisions regarding your child.
  • You and your spouse’s abilities to encourage affection and contact between your child and the other parent.
  • Any history of or potential for child abuse, spousal abuse, other domestic violence or parental kidnapping by either of you.
  • How close you and your spouse live to each other.
  • The recommendations of your child’s guardian in the case, if he or she has one.

To specifically evaluate a visitation arrangement for your child (which may include visitation for your child’s grandparents or others), the court will take into account:

  • Your child’s previous relationship with each of you, his or her siblings or any person requesting visitation.
  • The distance between the homes of everyone who could be granted visitation.
  • You and your spouse’s work schedules, your child’s school schedule, and everyone’s holiday and vacation schedules.
  • Your child’s age.
  • Your child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community.
  • Your child’s wishes.
  • Your child’s health and safety.
  • How much time your child will be able to spend with his or her siblings.
  • The mental and physical health of everyone involved.
  • Whether all of you are willing to reschedule missed visitation.
  • Whether any of you has been convicted of or plead guilty to child abuse or neglect.
  • Whether one of you has continuously denied the other’s right to parenting time.
  • Whether you or your spouse has moved out of state or is planning to move out of state.
  • You and your spouse’s wishes and concerns with regard to a request by a grandparent or other person for visitation with your child.
  • Any other factor that could be relevant in your child’s best interest.

7. How does the state calculate child support?
Ohio uses a set of state guidelines to arrive at a basic child support amount. It’s based on you and your spouse’s combined gross income and the number of children you have.

You will use one worksheet if you and your spouse have shared parental responsibilities and a different worksheet if you have split parental responsibilities (which means you are the residential parent and legal custodian for at least one of your children and your spouse is the residential parent and legal custodian for at least one of your other children).

The cost of health insurance for your child is figured into the equation after you’ve calculated the basic support amount.The court will deviate from the guidelines if you and your spouse have a combined gross income of less than $6,600 or greater than $150,000.

It also will take into account any pre-existing child support or spousal support orders that you or your spouse pays, deducting it from your gross income. And it will deduct a sum for any other children who live in you or your spouse’s household who are not from your marriage.

Finally, the court may consider any of the following factors in determining whether to order a support amount different from what the guidelines specify:

  • Any special and unusual needs your child might have.
  • Any out-of-the-ordinary expenses you or your spouse has to pay for children who are not from your marriage.
  • Other court-ordered payments.
  • Extended parenting time or extraordinary costs related to that extended parenting time.
  • Whether the parent paying support took on an extra job to support a second family.
  • Your child’s financial resources and earning ability, if any.
  • Any significant differences in income between you and your spouse or your households.
  • If one of you remarries or shares living expenses with another person, how that benefits your financial situation.
  • The taxes you and your spouse pay.
  • Any significant contributions you or your spouse makes toward your child by paying directly for lessons, sports equipment, clothing, etc.
  • You and your spouse’s financial resources, assets and needs.
  • You and your spouse’s standard of living and the standard of living your child would have enjoyed had you stayed married.
  • Your child’s physical and emotional condition and needs.
  • Your child’s educational abilities and needs.
  • Any responsibilities you or your spouse has to support others.
  • The amount of time your child spends with each of you.
  • You and your spouse’s abilities to maintain adequate housing for your child.
  • You and your spouse’s expenses for child care, school tuition, medical and dental care.
  • Any other factor or circumstance the court decides is relevant.

8. How does the state determine and calculate alimony?

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is not a given in a divorce case, but you or your spouse may request it. In determining whether spousal support is appropriate and reasonable and, if so, how much and for how long, the court considers these factors:

  • You and your spouse’s incomes from all sources.
  • You and your spouse’s earning abilities.
  • You and your spouse’s ages and physical, mental and emotional conditions.
  • You and your spouse’s retirement benefits.
  • How long you were married.
  • Whether it would be inappropriate to expect you to work outside the home because you’re caring for your child.
  • The standard of living you established during your marriage.
  • You and your spouse’s educations.
  • You and your spouse’s assets and debts.
  • Any contribution one of you made to the other’s education, training or earning ability.
  • How long it would take and how much it would cost for you to get the education or training necessary to find a job to support yourself.
  • The tax situation that would result for each of you if spousal support is awarded.
  • Whether either of you has a decreased earning power because of responsibilities you took on for your marriage.
  • Any other factor the court considers relevant.

Any award of spousal support ends with the death of you or your spouse, unless the order specifies otherwise.

9. Is there a waiting period before remarriage in Ohio?
No, you are free to remarry after the court delivers the final judgment ending your marriage.


Ohio’s state statutes are online, here.

The state’s Office of Child Support can be found, here.

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