Other than death, the only way a marriage can be terminated in Ohio is by a divorce or dissolution, both of which are started with an action filed in the Domestic Relations Court. The spouse filing an action for divorce must have been a resident of Ohio for at least six months prior to filing.
If you are contemplating an Ohio divorce, please contact the David A. Looney Co. LPA at 330-785-3337, or fill out our contact form. We serve clients in the Summit, Portage, Stark, Medina, and Wayne counties of Ohio. With over 50 years of combined legal experience, we are aggressive, equipped and prepared to fight for you and help you solve your legal problems.
Section 3105.01 of the Ohio Revised Code sets forth the grounds upon which a divorce can be granted, as follows:
Complaint or filing of divorce. A divorce is started with the filing of a “complaint” with the Court. The spouse that files is called the Plaintiff, and the other spouse is called the Defendant. In order for the Court to have jurisdiction over the Defendant, the Defendant must be served with a copy of the complaint and summons issued by the court. Service can be made by certified mail, personal service, or by publication if the whereabouts of the Defendant are unknown. When the case is filed, the Court issues a restraining order which prohibits either party from selling, transferring, or destroying assets, changing insurance coverage, incurring further joint credit, or removing the children from the county .
Answer to the Complaint. Once served, the Defendant Spouse must file an Answer to the Complaint. If an Answer is not filed in a timely manner, the Plaintiff can proceed to obtain an Uncontested Divorce. Once an Answer is filed, the case is considered to be a contested case. However, an agreement can be reached at any time during the proceedings, the case can be concluded and the parties divorced pursuant to that agreement. If it is impossible for the parties to reach an agreement, the case is ended with a trial, at which time the judge makes a ruling on the issues in question.
Temporary Orders. After the case is started, either party can request a ruling on pending issues such as custody, support, visitation, and exclusive use of the marital home. These rulings are called Temporary Orders, and are in effect until final orders are set forth in the final Decree of Divorce.
Psychological Testing and Guardian ad Litem. Either party can request that the court order psychological or psychiatric evaluations of the parties and/or the children to aid the court in making determinations with respect to parental rights and responsibilities. A Guardian ad Litem may also be appointed by the court at the request of either party, or upon the court’s own motion to represent the interests of the minor children. The Guardian ad Litem will make recommendations to the court with respect to the children’s issues.
Discovery. In order to assist the attorneys in discovery of the nature and value of the assets involved in the case, discovery procedures are commenced which may include interrogatories, depositions, and request for the production of documents. Experts may be retained to appraise property and business assets.
Pretrial. After the hearing on Temporary Orders, there will usually be one or two pretrials scheduled by the court. At the pretrial, the Judge will discuss the various issues remaining to be settled, and explore the possibility of a mutually agreeable settlement.
Trial. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case is scheduled for a trial. At trial, both parties present testimony, witnesses, and documents that pertain to the issues being tried. If experts were retained, their testimony or reports will be considered. At the conclusion of the evidence, the judge will make a decision based upon the evidence and the law, and issue a decree of divorce based upon that decision.
The experienced family law attorneys at the David A. Looney Co. LPA can advise you on the best legal approach for your divorce. Call us at 330-785-3337, or fill out our contact form.