Divorce can be a lengthy and complicated process. The rules that govern divorce become more intricate the longer you have been married and depending upon whether you have minor children. A short-term marriage without minor children may be much shorter than a long marriage (particularly one involving minor-aged children), which is usually a much longer process. In broad terms, a divorce could be finalized in as little as four months, or it could take a year and a half, depending on the circumstances. Consult your attorney for advice about your particular situation.
The caveat, of course, is that a dissolution (where the spouses reach an agreement on all terms) takes much less time than an adversarial divorce proceeding.
Here is the overall process for filing a divorce in Ohio:
Meeting The Requirements
An Ohio divorce is not necessarily a guarantee. You or your spouse must meet or exceed specific requirements in order to be eligible for divorce. Firstly, one of the two divorcing parties must have lived in Ohio for at least six months. Second, you or your spouse must have lived in the county you wish to be divorced in for at least 90 days. Legal separation is not required before a divorce, but if the two of you live in different counties, you may want to research which county will better serve your needs. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the slightly different laws of each county. Lastly, if you or your spouse are pregnant, the divorce will have to wait to be finalized until after the child is born.
Filling Out The Paperwork
This is the first real step in any divorce. The forms required for divorce proceedings will ask you to divulge all of your income, assets, property, expenses, and debts. These forms are legally-binding, and all the information given must be truthful and up to date. There are also two versions of these forms; one for parties with minor-aged children and one for parties without. As you can imagine, the forms involving children are a bit more complicated. Issues like custody, parenting schedules, and child support will be flushed out later.
Serving The Divorce Papers
When the forms are completed, your attorney will submit the forms to the local court for approval for filing. Once approval is received, the attorney will then take them to the county clerk at the courthouse where you have decided to get divorced. There will be a filing fee for processing your divorce that must be paid when you turn in your paperwork. A divorce that involves children, for instance, usually costs a bit more than one that does not.
After The Filing
The next part will determine exactly how long your divorce will take to finalize. Once you’ve filed for divorce, the court will serve the paperwork to your spouse. If you and your spouse have reached a quick agreement, then the judge can hold a hearing 45 days later and finalize the divorce. If no agreement has been reached, then a lengthy process begins, which can include periodic status conferences with the judge, discovery orders (where the attorneys exchange each client’s financial information), a settlement meeting, and possibly even mediation. The case can then be finalized at any time once an agreement is reached. If no agreement is reached, then eventually, a trial will have to occur at the end of the process, and the judge will issue a decision on the contested issues.
Divorce can be a lengthy and complicated process, but with the right advice found at Garretson & Holcomb, LLC, you can achieve your best possible outcome. Call today at (513) 863-6600.