Ohio has a number of divorce laws that you will want to understand if you are seeking divorce. Knowing how the law works in your state is important when you are trying to utilize it, so pay careful attention to all divorce laws pertaining to your situation.
What You Should Know About Ohio Divorce Laws
Divorce laws can be different depending on which state you are in. If you are getting divorced in Ohio, you should be aware of the following divorce laws as you proceed with your case:
- Residency requirements – In order for an Ohio court to consider your divorce you must meet residency requirements. One spouse must be a resident of Ohio for six months to file for divorce. In addition, that spouse must be a resident of the county he or she is filing in for at least 90 days.
- A mixed state – Ohio is a mixed state. This means that you can seek either a general divorce, one based on fault, or a no-fault divorce. General divorces require that a spouse have done something to lead to the need for a divorce. Reasons can include adultery, bigamy, extreme cruelty, fraud, habitual drunkenness, imprisonment, willful absence of at least one year or gross neglect of duty.
A no-fault divorce can be based off of incompatibility or a separation of at least one year without cohabitation.
- Equitable division – Ohio considers each spouse's property and income earned while in the marriage to belong to the spouse that owns it or earned it. However, this does not mean everything will be divided up equally during a divorce. The court will hear the arguments of both sides and decide upon a fair division based off of those arguments. This is why divorces involving high incomes and substantial property typically involve divorce lawyers.
- Child custody – Ohio is similar to other states in its treatment of child custody cases. The state is most interested in what is best for the child. Ideally this will involve regular and significant exposure to both parents after the divorce. However, custody decisions take into account everything that might impact the child, including financial resources of each parent, fitness of each spouse as a parent and a number of other factors. When custody is likely to be contested, people will also typically hire a divorce attorney to get the outcome they believe is best for the child.
- Child support – Ohio expects both parents to support the child after a divorce if possible. Child support decisions are made based on numerous factors, including the income of each parent, the assets and liabilities of each parent and the time each parent will spend with the child. The actual earning ability of each spouse may also be factored into the equation – not just what the spouse is earning right now.
- Annulment – Getting an annulment requires proving to the court that the marriage was never legally valid. Grounds for an annulment can include bigamy, fraud, marriage under duress, mental incompetence, failure to consummate the marriage and one of the parties being underage when the marriage occurred.
- Spousal support – Ohio can award spousal support in certain circumstances. There are a number of factors that the court will consider when deciding on a request of spousal support, including the length of the marriage, the future earning ability of the spouse, the income and assets of the spouse that will be paying the support, the standard of living while married, how much each party contributed to the marriage/existing businesses/accumulated assets, the lost income earning abilities of the spouse due to marriage and the time it would take to retrain or educate the spouse in need of support.
- Dissolution of marriage – Ohio's divorce laws allow a dissolution of marriage – as opposed to a divorce – in situations where both spouses agree on the terms of the dissolution. This requires that the end of the marriage be based on incompatibility, not fault, and that a settlement agreement be reached between both parties. The settlement agreement must state how every aspect of the marriage will be ended, including issues of property division, debt repayment, child custody and more. The process is slightly different than an actual divorce, and can be easier and cheaper than a traditional divorce as long as both parties are committed.
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