Although we like to think that our marriage will last forever, roughly half of American marriages end in divorce. In some cases, one spouse is unfaithful or behaves in a way that causes the marriage to end, while other married couples simply grow apart and realize that they want to go their separate ways. Each state dictates the process of how a marriage between two people should be terminated, and Ohio actually has two options for terminating a marriage. If you are beginning to explore your options, it’s helpful to take a look at the divorce and dissolution options Ohio offers to separating couples.
Option 1: Divorce
While some states have moved away from divorces, Ohio still allows you to file for divorce by citing specific reasons that your marriage failed. For instance, you can allege that your spouse was responsible for the failure of your marriage (acceptable reasons include adultery, extreme cruelty, habitual drunkenness, imprisonment, and more). Most divorce cases eventually settle, but a trial occurs several months later if the parties do not reach an agreement on the issues including division of property, spousal support, and parenting issues (custody, parenting time, and child support). Be prepared for a somewhat confrontational or adversarial experience—fault-based divorces can be heated and stressful. Ultimately, however, you will be able to walk away from your marriage and into a brighter future.
Option 2: Dissolution of Marriage
In Ohio, couples can pursue a dissolution of marriage in order to legally terminate their marriage. Dissolution is a solid option when there is no clear reason for your desire to separate. When you and your spouse pursue a dissolution, you’ll need to eventually reach an agreement on the terms of your divorce, such as the division of property, child custody and child support agreements, and other important aspects of the separation. Once your attorney has prepared a settlement agreement and a petition for dissolution, you will present these documents to the court for final approval. The last step is for you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to appear at a hearing within 30-90 days of the filing, at which you’ll be asked to verify that you still agree to the terms of your dissolution. If you are both in agreement, the court will approve the dissolution and legally end your marriage.
Ohio Divorce and Dissolution Residency Requirements
If you’re the one filing the divorce or dissolution paperwork, you must be able to prove one of you has been a resident of Ohio for at least six months. You’ll also need to show that you or your spouse have lived in the filing county for a minimum of 90 days. The court will reject your petition if these requirements are not meant. These rules are purposely strict to prevent “forum shopping”: the instance where one spouse attempts to find a judge or court that could reach a more favorable result in the divorce trial.
If you would like to learn more about your options for ending your marriage in the West Chester area, reach out to the skilled and knowledgeable divorce and dissolution attorneys at Garretson & Holcomb, LLC. Call (513) 863-6600 to get started.