Uncontested Divorce in Ohio

uncontested divorce in ohio

When you and your spouse have decided to call it quits in Ohio, the easiest, quickest, and cheapest way to do so is either by dissolution of marriage or through an uncontested divorce.

These legal options are similar and provide a clear path when you’re able to approach your impending separation with a reasonable degree of amicable cooperation.

Here’s what you need to know:

Dissolution and Uncontested Divorce in Ohio

Ohio allows for both dissolution of marriage and uncontested divorces. They are similar, and both can be used to speed the divorce process and save you money.

In a dissolution of marriage, you and your spouse will file a joint petition requesting your marriage be terminated. No reason for the end of the marriage needs to be stated.

Unlike in a divorce, fault is not considered. An uncontested divorce reaches the same result but through slightly different means.

To qualify for a dissolution of marriage, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Live in Ohio for at least six months before filing a petition for dissolution
  • Live in the county where you file the paperwork for at least 90 days before filing the petition
  • File appropriate documents with the clerk of courts in your county, including a full financial disclosure form
  • Be separated from your spouse for at least 30 days before your final hearing

A dissolution requires the least paperwork, which also means the least time and expense.

The legal waiting period is only 30 days.

To file for an uncontested divorce, you must:

  • Live in Ohio for at least six months before filing a petition for dissolution
  • Live in the county where you file the paperwork for at least 90 days before filing the petition
  • File appropriate documents with the clerk of courts in your county, including a full financial disclosure form

There is a bit of a wrinkle in Ohio divorce laws when it comes to uncontested divorces.

When both parties agree on all the issues, but one of the parties does not live nearby, or for whatever reason is not available to attend the final hearing terminating the marriage, the divorce can go forward, but as an uncontested divorce.

In both a dissolution and uncontested divorce, the parties will sign all agreements ahead of time and file all other required documents with the court.

However, with an uncontested divorce, the waiting period is 45 days, only one party needs to attend the final hearing, and they must bring a witness.

Steps to an Uncontested Divorce in Ohio

Here is an outline of the steps you need to follow in a dissolution or an uncontested divorce in Ohio:

Meet Residency Requirements

One or both spouses must reside in Ohio for at least six months and in the county where the paperwork is filed for at least 90 days before filing with the court.

Gather Information

To assist you in negotiating with your spouse, and because you will need to file a financial affidavit with the court, you need to gather a fair amount of information about your marriage.

You should gather personal information, banking documents, income and expense information, child-related expenses, tax, and real estate records, retirement account info, insurance policies, estate planning documents, and more.

For a more in-depth look at the kind of information you’ll need, look at our article The Ultimate Divorce Checklist: The Information You Need to Prepare for Divorce.

Complete the Initial Paperwork

The Ohio Judicial System has a complete list of standardized forms you’ll need to complete. You can download them here in either a Word or PDF format. Also note, that if you have children, you will need to complete additional paperwork, which you can find here.

Dissolution requires a different set of documents. For dissolution without children, go here.

For dissolution with children, go here.

Every divorce is different. At some point, however, you need to have discussions with your spouse about how you’re going to handle various issues related to your divorce. Keeping an open line of communication early on ensures fewer problems as you move through the steps.

Keep in mind that an uncontested divorce often relies on respect, honesty, and compromise. Stay focused on the overall goal for the best possible experience.

File Your Paperwork with the Court

After you complete your paperwork, file them with the court clerk in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where you want your divorce to occur.

When you file, you’ll need to pay a filing fee. You can check on how much that fee will be by contacting the appropriate court. After the paperwork is filed, the clerk will assign your case a case number. You’ll need to refer to your case by this number going forward.

Pay Your Filing Fees

Filing fees will vary by county and if you’re seeking a dissolution or an uncontested divorce.

These fees can vary widely, and it’s best to check with your court if you’re concerned about costs. Expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $500.

You may also have to pay a fee to have your paperwork served on your spouse.

If you meet certain requirements, you can have these fees waived. You’ll need to complete a Fee Waiver Affidavit and submit a request to the court.

Serve the Complaint

You must officially notify your spouse of your intent to divorce them by serving them with the court paperwork you submitted.

You can do this in Ohio by certified mail, registered mail, private process service, or sheriff’s service. If you don’t know where your spouse is, you can also publish a notice of your local newspaper’s divorce.

Because both spouses file court papers in a dissolution, no service is required in these cases

After you’ve filed your petition and served your spouse, the court will schedule a final hearing between 30 and 90 days from the date of filing.

Complete and Exchange Financial Disclosures

Ohio law requires both spouses to disclose their financial information as part of the divorce process. This is generally done through an affidavit of income, expenses, and property,

Courts want to see a fair and equitable split of assets and debts in a divorce. As part of your discussions with your spouse, you should both complete and exchange financial affidavits.

In a dissolution, this information must be submitted to the court with initial filing paperwork.

Resist the temptation to be anything but honest and forthright in declaring your financial information. If you’re caught lying or omitting information, you could face harsh penalties.

If You Have Children

If you and your spouse have children together, you will need to work out parenting and visitation issues. Ohio courts presume that both parents should be actively involved in their children’s lives, but ultimately courts will rule in favor of the children’s best interests.

These discussions can be challenging, so make sure you allow enough time to discuss solutions as part of your divorce process rationally.

Complete a Settlement Agreement

Uncontested divorces hinge on your ability to find common ground with your spouse. At some point, you will need to put together a settlement agreement that will become the basis for review by the court.

In a dissolution, you will need to submit this as part of your initial paperwork, so be sure to put the work upfront and stay focused on larger goals as you amicably compromise on various issues.

Learn More: What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

Ohio’s Waiting Period

In a dissolution, there is no waiting period as long as both spouses agree to the action.

In an uncontested divorce, a spouse has 42 days to respond to a complaint. If they fail to do so, a judge will grant a divorce to the filing party. Often this is “as is,” but in some cases, a judge may make minor modifications.

Court Review and Approval

The court will review your documents, and you will attend a brief final hearing, at which time, the judge may ask you a few questions before approving your divorce.

The judge must make sure there is a fair agreement for all the issues involved in ending the marriage, including alimony, a division of assets and debts, child custody, support, and more.

In a dissolution, both spouses must attend. In an uncontested divorce, only one spouse and a witness are required to attend.

Your divorce isn’t finalized until a signed “Judgment Entry for Divorce” is filed with the court. This typically takes place automatically after a judge approves the divorce.

Get More Information – How to File for Divorce in Ohio

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Ohio?

Depending on court backlogs, judges’ availability to sign a Final Decree, and whether or not the court will have questions on any of the documents submitted for review, a dissolution or uncontested divorce generally takes 45-90 days in Ohio.

How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Ohio?

The biggest expense you’ll probably incur is a filing fee. In Ohio, county and county filing fees will range from about $200 up to $300.

If you want an exact amount, you’ll need to look it up online or contact the courthouse and ask what the amount is.

If you are financially challenged, you may be able to have the fee waived. You’ll need to make that request to the court. Again, contact the specific courthouse and ask what the procedures are for a fee waiver.

There will be a small additional fee if you choose to have a process server or sheriff’s deputy serve papers on your spouse. This should be less than $50 in virtually all cases.

And, if you want help completing forms and decide to use an online service, expect to pay anywhere from $150 up to as much as $500, depending on which service you choose.

Do I Have to go to Court for an Uncontested Divorce?

You will need to attend a final hearing before your marriage is terminated in Ohio.

If you and your spouse are both available to attend a final hearing in court, then you may be able to proceed with a dissolution of marriage.

If only one of you will attend a final court hearing, you should proceed with an uncontested divorce. Only one spouse and a character witness need to attend the final hearing for the final hearing in an uncontested divorce.

The hearing is usually very short, no more than 15 minutes in most cases.

During the hearing, you will be asked to testify that:

  • You still want to dissolve the marriage.
  • You voluntarily entered into and agree with the terms of the agreement.
  • You are not in bankruptcy.
  • There is no current pregnancy.
  • If either party is a member of the active-duty military, all additional requirements have been met.

Good to Know – How to Prepare for a Divorce Hearing

FAQs About Uncontested Divorce in Ohio

What are the grounds for divorce in Ohio?

You can file for either a no-fault or fault-based divorce in Ohio. No-fault divorces can be cited in a dissolution or uncontested divorce when the husband and wife have, without interruption, lived separate and apart without cohabitation incompatibility unless denied by either party.

Contested divorces often cite specific reasons for divorce. Ohio allows the following for fault-based divorces:

  • Adultery
  • Imprisonment
  • willful desertion for one year
  • cruel and inhuman treatment
  • bigamy
  • habitual intemperance
  • an out-of-state divorce that does not release the in-state resident from the obligations of marriage in Ohio
  • fraud and neglect.

Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce in Ohio?

You don’t need an attorney to get a divorce in Ohio. This is especially common in a dissolution or in uncontested divorces where the ability to compromise removes the need for an attorney to advocate for one side’s position.

Some people prefer to protect their legal rights and may confer with an attorney. If you’re not comfortable with the process on your own, this is a legitimate option for you to pursue.

Other people may only need help to complete forms or have limited concerns regarding divorce. For these people, an online service could be a viable option.

Should I file for divorce using an online service in Ohio?

If you need or want some help getting started with your divorce, an online divorce service could be a smart way to go.

Many of these services have been in business for a long time and have helped thousands of people properly prepare and submit forms to the courts.

Several also offer other value-added services, such as providing frameworks for child custody, child support, alimony, and other sometimes prickly divorce-related issues.

All of these types of services also stand behind their work, offering a court acceptance guarantee for your forms.

The cost for these services is very reasonable, given the value and speed they offer. You also can’t discount the amount of reduced anxiety you’ll go through when you know this part of your divorce is handled with qualified and experienced assistance.

There are several options to choose from. To help you find which one is right for you, take a look at our review of the top online divorce services.

Our top recommendation is 3 Step Divorce.

Here’s why we think it provides the best value:

  • $299 flat-fee with no hidden charges
  • Flexible monthly payment options (get started for as little as $84)
  • Unlimited live support by phone and email
  • Print your completed forms immediately or have them mailed to you at no additional cost
  • Excellent customer reviews (4.6 stars on Trustpilot)
  • A+ rating with the BBB
  • 100% court approval guarantee or your money back

Get started with 3 Step Divorce now >>

Can I get divorced in Ohio even if I was married in another state?

Yes. As long as you meet the state’s six-month residency requirement and 90-day county residency requirement, it does not matter where you were married.

Do I have to wait for a specific period of time if I want to get remarried after my divorce.

No. You can remarry as soon as your divorce is finalized in Ohio.

Can I stop a divorce in Ohio?

As long as your divorce has not been finalized, you can petition the court for dismissal if you were the spouse who filed the original paperwork. If the divorce has been finalized, it cannot be reversed.

Can I get a divorce if I’m pregnant in Ohio?

You can start the process, but courts want to wait until the baby is born to determine appropriate paternity, support, and custody.

Can I get spousal support in a dissolution or an uncontested divorce?

Absolutely. This is one of the critical issues you and your spouse need to work out. It is also one thing the court will look at in the Settlement Agreement before approving a final decree.

To ensure alimony is fair in the amount and duration, judges may look at:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • Contributions to the marriage by each spouse, including those as a homemaker
  • The earnings capacity of each spouse
  • Age, physical, and mental well being
  • Current or anticipated windfalls, such as inheritance
  • If marital misconduct is present or not
  • Can the party seeking alimony become self-sufficient at some point
  • Other relevant factors

For More Information – Everything You Need to Know About Alimony

How is property divided in an Ohio divorce?

Ohio is an equitable distribution state. This means that all marital property is divided fairly among two divorcing spouses, but this does necessarily mean a 50/50 split. This is another key issue judges will look at when reviewing a settlement agreement.

When it comes to marital and separate property, it’s important to remember that separate property remains yours. However, separate property might become marital property – for example, if before you got married, you owned a house, and during your marriage, its value has increased, the appreciation on the separate property asset (the house) can be treated as marital property and divided between the parties.

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