Ohio Divorce Procedures

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Divorce is a legal judgment given by a court to end a marriage. Every nation of the world has developed different laws pertaining to marriage and the legal breaking of marriage. Again there are some nations like USA where the laws vary from one state to the other. In Ohio there are 3 ways of ending a marriage- divorce, dissolution and annulment. These three common means of marriage are significantly different from each other. So, one must identify the way for getting separating from your partner. If you chose divorce then you must be aware of the basics of this process in Ohio. You must understand Ohio divorce procedures in accordance with the state laws to avoid any mistake that may prove fatal in the long run.

In Ohio the process begins with one divorcing partner filing a Complaint. The other divorcing partner is known as the Respondent. The Complaint must allege the following:

  • The Plaintiff has lived in this state for minimum 6 months immediately before the filing date
  • Date and location of marriage
  • Names and birth dates of minor children, if any
  • Minimum one statutory ground of divorce
  • A demand for a relief being requested from the court

There are other important procedures that are followed after the complaint. One should go through these proceedings while producing all papers and evidences that are required. These procedures are described below:

Ohio Divorce Procedure after the Complaint

The divorce papers are served to the Defendant. The intention of this action is to bring the Defendant within the jurisdiction of the court. The next step is that the Defendant must file an Answer to the Complaint. In the Answer, the allegations made by the Plaintiff in the Complaint must be denied or accepted. In case the Defendant denies the allegations, such a Defendant has the right to mention any defenses.

Apart from the Answer, the Defendant can also file a counterclaim. In this document, the Defendant can mention any claim against the Plaintiff. After the filing of any counterclaim, the Plaintiff is expected to file a Reply. In this document, the Plaintiff reserves the right to deny or admit the allegation stated in the counterclaim and put forth any defenses.

It is to be mentioned here that couples can request temporary orders from court regarding major issues such as child support, child custody and spousal maintenance and other serious matters like harassing or physically abusing one another.

After this, the court holds some pretrial hearings to identify whether a mutually agreeable settlement can be reached. If an agreement cannot be reached, what matters are to be decided at trial are identified. If the case cannot be resolved easily, the court will provide dates for the conclusion of the discovery process, for the production of important reports and for the date of final trial.

Responsibility of Judge in Ohio Divorce Procedure

The divorcing partners initially submit all the relevant documents and data pertaining to the case to the Judge. The Judge also has several expert reports that have been ordered while the case was pending. It is the responsibility of the Judge to oversee hearings and trials during which witnesses (inclusive of expert witnesses) are presented, testimonies take place and other related proofs are presented.

If a guardian ad litem (GAL) has been appointed, the Judge takes into account any recommendations of the GAL. If it is felt apt and beneficial, the Judge takes interviews of the children. The final work of any Judge is to consider the evidences put forth and arrive at a decision that is compatible within the framework of the law.

The procedure of Appeal

Sometimes a divorcing partner feels that the final decision of the trial judge is not satisfactory. Then, this divorcing partner has the option of appealing this final decision in the Court of Appeals. In the year 2005, the Appeal procedure generally required about 10,000 to 15,000 USD. One should not be mistaken assuming that an Appeal would certainly be successful.

Usually, the divorcing partner states in an Appeal that the trial Judge has misapplied the law in making the final conclusion or has abused the discretion. The divorcing partner should never consider the Appeal as a new trial. This is a totally disparate procedure and a legal proceeding in strict terms. In an Appeal, any evidence or witness is never presented. During the Appeal, it is merely speculated whether substantial justice was done during the proceeding in the trial court.

Fighting a divorce is not easy. You should be rational, confident and emotionally strong. Being so when you follow all the Ohio divorce procedures that are relevant in your case, you are sure to get justice.

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