In recent years, more and more states have adopted a no-fault divorce system, which means that spouses who dissolve their marriages are not required to provide evidence of fault. Instead, they can both agree that the marriage should be ended due to incompatibility. Ohio allows couples to choose whether to file for a dissolution of marriage, which does not require evidence of fault, or to file for divorce, which can be granted upon a finding of fault by a judge, or by both parties stipulating to incompatibility.
In either case, dissolving a marriage requires resolution of a number of important issues, including how marital assets will be divided, whether one spouse will pay alimony, and how parenting time will be shared. These types of issues have long-lasting repercussions, so if you and your spouse are thinking about filing for divorce, it is important to consult with an experienced Louisville, OH divorce lawyer who can explain your legal rights and obligations.
Under Ohio law, dissolving a marriage allows a couple to end their relationship by reaching an agreement outside of court, and stipulating that they are incompatible as it relates to marriage. Divorce is useful for people who cannot reach an agreement on their own, or who do not trust each other to fully disclose their assets and debts. Divorce requires a finding of fault, or grounds if the parties do not agree that they are incompatible. Dissolving a marriage is often preferred by couples, as it comes with a number of benefits. For example, when a couple dissolves a marriage in Ohio, the parties are required to come to an out-of-court agreement about all divorce-related issues, including the division of property and debt, alimony, child support, custody, and visitation. Because courts are not required to make any formal determinations, these types of proceedings are often finished more quickly than divorce actions, saving the parties both time and money.
Regardless of whether an Ohio couple decides to dissolve their marriage or file a complaint for a divorce, the parties must fulfill certain filing requirements. For instance, when filing for divorce or dissolution, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for the preceding six months. If this requirement is satisfied and a couple wishes to obtain a divorce, the filing spouse must file a Complaint for Divorce in a court of common pleas. In the event that the other spouse is not a resident of Ohio, is absent from the state, or cannot be located, the filing spouse will need to get the other spouse served via personal process server or other acceptable means. If a party wants a divorce, and the other party receives notice but refuses to show up, there is a procedure where the filing party may bring two witnesses to testify as to certain facts, and the divorce may still be granted under certain circumstances.
If, on the other hand, a couple has decided to dissolve their marriage, both parties will need to sign a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and attach a separation agreement, which is a contract allocating their assets and debts. Within approximately six weeks of filing all of the necessary paperwork, both spouses will need to appear personally before the court and acknowledge that they entered into the agreement voluntarily, are satisfied with its terms, and are seeking dissolution of the marriage. It is also possible for a couple to convert a dissolution action into a divorce action and vice versa, if needed.
To speak with an experienced Louisville, OH divorce lawyer about dissolving your marriage, please call Fout Law at 330-437-7455 today.