How to File for Dissolution in Ohio
This is a simplified summary of the dissolution process in the state of Ohio, from filing to final hearing.
Before You FileWhen both parties agree that a marriage is ending, a dissolution can save time and money. You and your spouse will need to agree on how to divide assets and debts, and if there are minor children, you will need to agree on who has custody of the children, who is paying child support, and what the parenting schedule will be.
Once You Reach an AgreementYou will need to complete forms, which are available at the Ohio Supreme Court's website under "Domestic Relations Forms." You will have to complete a Petition for Dissolution, Waiver of Service of Summons, Separation Agreement, and Judgment Entry. If you have minor children, you will also need to complete a Health Insurance Affidavit, Shared Parenting Plan (or Parenting Plan), and Parenting Proceeding Affidavit. The completed forms will be filed with the clerk of courts in the county where you live, and you will pay a filing fee. The filing fee varies by county.
What Happens Next?Once the forms have been filed, the court will set a date for the dissolution hearing. Both spouses must be present at the hearing and both spouses will answer simple questions under oath. After the hearing is over, the court will send you a copy of the Judgment Entry and Decree of Dissolution for your records. You should keep the Judgment Entry in a safe place, because you may need to provide it to someone in the future, such as your bank.
Do I Need an Attorney to File for Dissolution?An attorney is not required for either spouse, but the court may require you to sign a Waiver of Counsel form if you do not have an attorney. An attorney cannot represent both spouses because that would be a conflict of interest. Having an attorney represent you in a dissolution is important because the decisions that you make can have an impact that lasts for years. An attorney can give you advice on the best course of action.