Ohio No Fault Divorce: How Long will it Take?

In an Ohio no fault divorce, no one is at fault for the failure of the marriage.  No fault divorce makes it easier for one party to leave the marriage.  It is less stressful because the only grounds you need to end the marriage are incompatibility and living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year.  One spouse initiates the divorce by filing the petition to dissolve the marriage in the county where they reside.  The petitioner must be a resident of the State of Ohio for at least 6 months prior to filing the petition, and a resident of the county for at least 90 days.  The petition must be served on the other spouse.   Your spouse has the opportunity to answer and contest the petition.  If they don’t answer, a default judgment will be entered, and the marriage will be dissolved.  If the other spouse contests the divorce and the parties cannot decide on property division, spousal support, parental rights, child custody, child visitation and child support, either their attorneys will try and negotiate a settlement on their behalf or the court will decide for them.  Separate Property does not need to be included in the agreement. Separate property consists of the following:

  • Property owned before marriage
  • Passive income or appreciation from separate property
  • Property acquired after a legal separation
  • Excluded property listed in an ante-nuptial agreement,
  • Personal injury awards
  • Gifts
  • Inheritances

The length of the divorce process varies depending on how long it takes the parties to reach an agreement and how busy the court is with other cases.  

Uncontested Divorce

If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement on issues to end your marriage before you file for a no fault divorce, this is considered an uncontested divorce.   An uncontested divorce is quicker and creates less stress for the parties and their children.  In an Ohio uncontested divorce, both you and your spouse may file a joint petition for dissolution of marriage.  The petition must be signed by both parties, and the separation agreement including the property division, child and spousal issues and parental rights must be attached to the petition.  The entire process takes about 90 days after you file the petition to dissolve the marriage.  The court favors uncontested divorces because they free up the court dockets for other cases.

Divorce Hearing

Not less than thirty nor more than ninety days after the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage, both spouses must appear at the divorce hearing and testify under oath that they voluntarily entered into the separation agreement, that each party approves the agreement, and that they are asking for the dissolution of their marriage.   If the agreement meets with the court’s approval, then the court will grant the dissolution of marriage. 

Consult with an Attorney

Before you file for divorce, you should consult with an Ohio family law attorney.  An Ohio attorney is knowledgeable about the divorce laws, and can explain them to you. The attorney can help you prepare the petition and other legal documents, and represent you in court.

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