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5035 Mayfield Road Suite 102
Lyndhurst, Ohio 44124
216.382.8100
justice@phillipsrzepkalaw.com

Divorce

If spouses do not agree on whether to divorce or how to handle property, parenting and support issues, one spouse may file a Complaint for divorce. The person filing the Complaint (the "Plaintiff") must have lived in Ohio for six months before filing and, generally, in the County for 90 days. The person being sued for divorce (the "Defendant") has 28 days after being served with the Complaint to file an Answer if he or she intends to contest the divorce. If the Defendant wants the divorce to be awarded to him or her, the Defendant may counter sue by filing a Counterclaim with the Answer.

Under Ohio Revised Code § 3105.01 a divorce may be granted for the following reasons:

If the Defendant fails to file an Answer after being served with the Complaint, an "uncontested" trial will be scheduled. The Plaintiff must testify about the grounds alleged for the divorce, and bring a witness to corroborate his or her testimony. The Plaintiff must also provide evidence about the value of assets, debts, support, and the parenting needs of any minor children. Generally, assets and debts will be divided and parenting and support issues decided according to the Plaintiff’s request. This process takes about two months.

If the Defendant files an Answer, or an Answer and Counterclaim, the case is considered "contested". One or more hearings, called "pretrials", will be scheduled to determine what actions must be taken before trial and to narrow the issues to be heard. At "trial" the Court will hear evidence on all issues the parties have been unable to resolve by agreement. Adversarial cases can be very time-consuming and expensive. Often, the parties eventually reach agreement on some or all issues. If the parties can "settle" all issues they will sign a "separation agreement" or an "in-court agreement" which states the terms of the settlement which the Court will order into effect.