How Do I File for Divorce in Ohio?

By Katy Hart

What Is Needed to File in Ohio

In order to file for divorce in the state of Ohio, there are certain criteria that must be met. The person filing for divorce (the plaintiff) must have been living in the state and considered a resident for at least six consecutive months prior to the filing. He or she also has to have been a resident of the county in which the divorce is filed for at least 90 days. Alternatively, both the plaintiff and the spouse (the defendant) have been living in the county in which the divorce was filed for at least 90 days. The only other criteria is that there are "grounds" for divorce.

Grounds for Divorce in Ohio

The grounds, or legal reasons, that a divorce can be filed in Ohio can be listed under "no fault" and "fault." No fault reasons are incompatibility and living separately and apart without living together for one year. There are nine "fault" reasons for divorce. They are bigamy (having another spouse), the willful absence of one of the parties from the home for a minimum of one year, adultery, extreme cruelty (defined by Ohio law), fraudulent contract (as defined by the law), gross neglect of duty (such as failure to support the family), habitual drunkenness, if the adverse party is in prison (federal or state) at the time of the filing or if the divorce is out of state.

The Process of Divorce

Once the complaint has been filed with the Court of Common Pleas and any minor children have been appointed a guardian, the process of the divorce can get started. The defendant must answer the complaint admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint. If denying, the defendant can raise defenses and also file a counterclaim. If this is done, the plaintiff must also reply. If the defendant doesn't respond to the complaint, a default judgment for the plaintiff can be ordered. While the case is pending, either party can file for temporary custody of any children or file for spousal support. Psychological and psychiatric evaluations of the spouse and/or children can also be requested. A pretrial hearing will be held to determine if a mutual resolution can be reached. If not, then dates will be set for further hearings and date set for the trial. At the trial, a judge will hear from both parties and expert witnesses. He will hear all reports gathered and review other evidence before rendering a judgment based on the evidence and the law. Appeals can be made.

About the Author

Katy Hart is a blogger who has contributed to multiple blogs on topics such as parenting, pop culture and television. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Wright State University. She is also the mother of two.