A Toledo Divorce Attorney Breaks Down the Steps for Filing For Divorce
Marriage and divorce often seem to go hand in hand. On any given day, you can check out the headlines in the news and hear about another celebrity couple who just got married, while also hearing about “that couple” that is surprisingly splitting up. Even many newspapers (yes, those nearly obsolete stacks of recycled paper!) celebrate pending nuptials while simply stating those dissolutions of marriage. Although somewhat misleading, many popular statistics claim that nearly 50 percent of all marriages will end in divorce. More than likely, we have all experienced the effects of divorce, whether personally or from those we know well.
So, if your present marriage is on rocky ground, and you’ve determined that a divorce is the best decision that you can make for yourself, then it’s important that you get a clear picture of what your divorce process will look like. Getting a divorce is more involved that simply signing a few papers, and splitting up. If you’re seriously considering a dissolution of marriage, it might be wise to consult a divorce attorney to make sure that the process goes as smoothly, and as fairly, as possible.
How to File for Divorce in Ohio
- Determine if you’re eligible. Just because you currently live in Ohio doesn’t mean that you can file for divorce in Ohio. Residency requirements state that you must live in the state for at least six months before you can file your paperwork. If you haven’t been in Ohio that long, you must wait to divorce until the remaining time passes.
- Determine where you’ll file. In Ohio, all divorces must be filed in the County Court where the Plaintiff (person filing) has lived for at least 90 days. If that’s you, and you haven’t lived in your current county that long, you do have the option of filing in the county where your spouse lives, as long as he/she meets the same residency requirements.
- Determine why you are filing for divorce. In Ohio, and most states, there are specific grounds that you can choose from when justifying divorce. They include: willful absence for at least a year, fraud, adultery, extreme cruelty, one spouse is married to someone else, Habitual drunkenness, residential separation for more than one year, and incompatibility. This last one is extremely common, as this is known as “no-fault divorce.” However, if you choose to file for divorce on the grounds of incompatibility, then both you and your spouse must mutually agree upon the divorce.
- Obtain and complete the necessary forms. The length of your marriage, your financial situation, whether or not you have children, and many other factors can determine how many forms you’ll need to fill out. There are worksheets dealing with child support and custody arrangements, alimony, financial and property disbursement, and other related matters that you and your spouse must complete. Some aspects of this process may require mediation once the divorce process has begun to reach a satisfying conclusion. Your divorce attorney can help make sure this process happens as smoothly as possibly and all forms are completely correctly.
- Prepare to file your forms. Filing for divorce costs money and takes time. There are various fees that are associated with filing divorce that are all separate from any legal fees your lawyer may accrue. You must make sure to have multiple copies of all forms being submitted and be prepared to pay all legal fees. Check with your County Court to determine what methods of payment are allowed, as some may not allow personal checks or credit cards.
- Finally, you can file your divorce forms. Once all of your forms are complete, and your fees have been paid, you can take your files to the County Court so a new case can be opened. Many cases will serve your spouse with the divorce papers, but some may not. In that case, you would personally need to serve your spouse the divorce papers.
Once this process has gotten started, you and your spouse face the sometimes challenging task of dissolving your marriage and permanently separating from each other. In many cases, the divorce process can take several months or even years to complete. Your divorce could be resolved more quickly than others, depending on the circumstances of your situation, but it’s important to be realistic about the process from the start.
If a divorce is the most practical option for your difficult marriage situation, I can help. As a Toledo divorce attorney proudly serving Northwest Ohio, I am dedicated to helping my clients reach divorce and separation resolutions that will work for them and protect their legal rights along the way. I understand that getting a divorce can be a stressful, discouraging, and frustrating time, and I am committed to approaching every case with the care and compassion they derseve. If you have questions and are looking for helpful answers, please contact my Toledo law office today at 419-243-3922.