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Ohio Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Ohio divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
GENERAL INFORMATION
How does DivorceWriter work? 375
First, complete the basic pre-purchase portion of the online interview. Then, set up your... more
Will my documents be completed or will I have to fill them out myself when I receive them? 2005
For the most part, your DivorceWriter documents arrive completed with the information that you provide in the interview, ready to sign and file with your local court. However, there is some information that is not yet known to the customer, such as the date that a filing step was completed, which must be filled in by the customer later in the process.

DivorceWriter makes every effort to balance the customer's need to have completed documents with the need to keep our online interview to a reasonable length for the comfort of our customers. As such, certain other pieces of information may also need to be filled in by the customer. Customers with minor children will need to fill in personal information pertaining to the children such as where and with whom they have lived over the last five years. Additionally, Ohio requires persons filing for divorce to complete affidavits pertaining to income, expenses, and property. Much of the information on these forms must be filled in by the customer as well.
What happens after I receive my DivorceWriter documents? 1917
Just follow the step-by-step instructions included with your DivorceWriter package, which ... more
How do I make changes to my documents after I receive them? 1449
If you want to make changes to any of your documents after receiving them in the mail, you... more
Will DivorceWriter documents work in my state and/or in my situation? 1969
DivorceWriter's goal is to provide self-help divorce documents. However, DivorceWriter is ... more
I finished the online interview. How long will it take to receive my documents? 1981
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may al... more
I want to use DivorceWriter to prepare my own divorce documents. What do I do next? 1864
To get started, click on "Start the Process" above. You will be taken to our online inter... more
Can I use DivorceWriter in my state? 1979
DivorceWriter offers divorce documents for nearly every U.S. state and the District of Col... more
What if I need additional documents that were not included in my DivorceWriter package? 2000
Contact customer service at info@divorcewriter.com with the name or form number of the the... more
What is the online interview? 1863
In as little as 10-15 minutes, the online interview allows you to enter the information ne... more
Can you overnight my documents to me so that I can have them right away? 2586
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may a... more
How do I change my password? 1972
To change your password you must first log back into your account using the login section ... more
How do I make changes to my existing DivorceWriter account? 1973
If you already have a DivorceWriter account and need to make changes to your online interv... more
Does DivorceWriter provide documents for annulments? 2165
No. DivorceWriter does not currently provide documents for annulments.
What is included? 3784
The DivorceWriter package includes all forms needed to complete your divorce. These state... more
Does it matter which spouse files for divorce? 3502
Generally speaking, both spouses should have the same rights in a divorce proceeding regar... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide property and debts? 3360
Asking the Court for to divide property and debts fairly is standard language in the Divor... more
Do we need to notify the court of any address changes during the divorce? 3405
Any questions concerning the requirements for notifying the court about changes of address... more
I need a form that is not available online or in the DivorceWriter's supplemental forms database. How can I find a sample form elsewhere? 3352
Divorce documents are public record, so it is usually possible to obtain a copy of one or ... more
How do I serve a spouse that lives in a different state or country? 3810
The process for serving a spouse that lives in another state or country depends on the sta... more
What is DivorceWriter's fax number? 3419
DivorceWriter's fax number is (800) 344 9889.
Can I create another divorce in my account?  2712
Yes, you can purchase additional divorces from your Account Summary page. Login to your a... more
What's the difference between an Acknowledgement and a Jurat? 3634
With an Acknowledgement, the notary is certifying that the signer appeared before the nota... more
We were married in a foreign country. Can we divorce in the U.S.?  2635
As long as you meet the residency requirements for filing for divorce in the state where y... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide our property and/or debts? 3361
The Divorce Petitions/Divorce Complaints in most states contain language asking the Court ... more
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STATE PROCEDURES
How much is the filing fee in Ohio? 1441
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The fee for filing for dissolution or divorce in Ohio is typically $175.00-$350.00.
Do we have to live at separate addresses? 265
Many Ohio courts will not grant a dissolution of marriage unless the spouses have been living separate and apart at different addresses from the time they sign their separation agreement or at least since they filed it with the court. Other Ohio counties require that the spouses must live separate and apart for at least thirty (30) days prior to the divorce hearing date. This is to ensure that both people have experienced living separate and apart prior to affirming their agreement. It also makes sure that both parties have divided their household goods to their satisfaction.

After the dissolution has been finalized, spouses are free to live wherever they choose.
Do we have to be separated to have our marriage dissolved or to get a divorce? 799
Many Ohio courts will not grant a dissolution of marriage or divorce unless the spouses have been living separate and apart at different addresses from the time they sign their separation agreement or at least since they filed it with the court. This is to ensure that both people have experienced living separate and apart prior to affirming their agreement. It also makes sure that both parties have divided their household goods to their satisfaction.

After the dissolution or divorce has been finalized, spouses are free to live wherever they choose.
What is the difference between a dissolution and a divorce in Ohio? 1698
In Ohio, a dissolution of marriage is sometimes referred to as "no-fault divorce" because it does not require the parties to prove any grounds for ending the marriage. As long as the parties are able to agree on all matters involving the division of debts and property as well as regarding the support and custody of children, if any, and if both parties are able to attend the court hearing together, they may seek a dissolution of marriage rather than a divorce.

If both parties are not able to attend a court hearing together, a dissolution is not an option and a divorce is the only way to end the marriage. There are several grounds for divorce in Ohio, but the most common is that the parties are able to agree that they are incompatible. If you and your spouse wish to use a grounds other than incompatibility, you may not be able to use DivorceWriter.
What are the basic steps to getting a dissolution of marriage in Ohio? 788
1) Both spouses review and sign the dissolution documents.
2) The Petitioner files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and related documents with the Common Pleas Court Clerk and pays the filing fee of approximately $175.00-$300.00.
3) Both spouses attend the final hearing approximately 30-90 days after the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed.
4) The Judge signs the Decree of Dissolution following the final hearing and/or mails a finalized Decree to you and your spouse.
The Clerk told me that Ohio has new domestic relations forms that I need to use. How do I get them? 2484
On July 1, 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court enacted the following new Uniform Domestic Relations Forms for use in all 88 Ohio counties:
  • Affidavit of Income and Expenses
  • Affidavit of Property
  • Parenting Proceeding Affidavit (cases involving children only)
  • Health Insurance Affidavit (cases involving children only)
  • Affidavit for Temporary Orders (only if you need the Court to issue an Order concerning custody, visitation, and/or requiring your spouse to pay support and/or certain expenses while the divorce is pending; rarely used in dissolution cases; optional in divorce cases)
Although most counties will continue to accept the existing forms, all Ohio Courts are required to accept the new Uniform Domestic Relations Forms in all dissolution and divorce cases filed after July 1, 2010. Any DivorceWriter customer that needs one or more of the new forms may send a request to our Customer Service at info@divorcewriter.com and we will e-mail those documents to you at no additional charge.
What documents are included in the self-prepared Ohio DivorceWriter dissolution of marriage package? 794
In addition to Ohio filing procedures, your self-prepared Ohio DivorceWriter package will include:
  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
  • Separation Agreement
  • Waiver of Financial Disclosure
  • Waiver of Legal Representation
  • Waiver of Service of Summons
  • Decree of Dissolution of Marriage
Customers with minor or legally dependent children from the marriage will also receive:
  • Custody Affidavit
  • Child Support Worksheet
  • Application for Child Support Services Non-Public Assistance Applicant
Customers who wish to share legal custody of their minor and/or legally dependent child(ren) will also receive:
  • Shared Parenting Plan
  • Final Decree of Shared Parenting
Hamilton County customers with minor or legally dependent children will also receive:
  • Qualified Medical Child Support Order
  • Health Care Verification
Franklin County customers with minor or legally dependent children will also receive:
  • Health Insurance Disclosure Affidavit
  • Financial Disclosure Affidavit (instead of Waiver)
How long will it take to finalize my dissolution/divorce? 149
Generally, it will take between 31-89 days to complete your dissolution of marriage in Ohio.

While there is no set waiting period with Ohio dissolutions, the mandatory dissolution hearing cannot take place sooner than 30 days prior to the date the Petition for Dissolution is filed, and cannot take place more than 90 days after the date of filing. Since a dissolution is generally finalized by the judge at the hearing, 31-89 days is the range for completing the dissolution.

Additional information can be found at: http://codes.ohio.gov

Like a dissolution, a divorce is usually finalized at the divorce hearing. In many counties, you will be able to schedule your final hearing while you are at the Clerk's office filing your documents. In other counties, you will be notified of a hearing date later. Regardless, a divorce in Ohio is generally finalized within one to three months from the date it was filed.
Where do I file the dissolution/divorce documents? 778
Both dissolutions and divorces are filed at the Court of Common Pleas Clerk's office in the county of filing. Depending on the county, it may be more specifically referred to as the Division of Domestic Relations for the Court of Common Pleas.
How do we prove that we meet the Ohio residency requirements? 781
Whether you are filing for dissolution or divorce, be aware that both require the party that files, and sometimes the non-filing spouse as well, to sign a document containing language that states that at least one of the spouses meets the residency requirements. In many most, this is all that is required to prove residency.

If you have any additional questions regarding whether your county will require you to present any identification or documentation to prove residency at the time of filing, you should direct your inquiries to the Court of Common Pleas Clerk for the county of filing. The Clerk cannot give legal advice, but will be able to provide you with general information regarding filing in your county. DivorceWriter cannot assist you in deciding which spouse should file.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 798
To obtain a dissolution of marriage, both spouses must attend the hearing together. To obtain a divorce, only the spouse that files (Plaintiff) is required to attend the hearing.
Can I change my name in the divorce proceedings? 346
If you select the name change option on the online interview, the request will be automatically added to your documents at no additional cost to you.
Do any documents require notarization? 1982
The filing instructions included with your DivorceWriter package will provide additional i... more
What documents are included in the self-prepared DivorceWriter Ohio divorce package? 795
In addition to Ohio filing procedures, your self-prepared Ohio DivorceWriter package will include:
  • Complaint for Divorce
  • Answer
  • Separation Agreement
  • Financial Disclosure Affidavit
  • Waiver of Legal Representation
  • Waiver of Service of Summons
  • Decree of Divorce
Customers with minor or legally dependent children from the marriage will also receive:
  • Child Custody Affidavit
  • Child Support Worksheet
  • Application for Child Support Services Non-Public Assistance
Customers who wish to share legal custody of their minor and/or legally dependent child(ren) will also receive:
  • Shared Parenting Plan
  • Final Decree of Shared Parenting
Franklin County customers will also receive:
  • Health Insurance Disclosure Affidavit
Hamilton County customers will also receive:
  • Qualified Medical Child Support Order
  • Health Care Verification
What are the signature requirements for the documents I will receive? 899
The state-specific filing procedures included in the DivorceWriter package indicate which ... more
Which is the proper Ohio county for filing for dissolution? 144
An Ohio dissolution of marriage can be filed in the county where either of the spouses resides.

However, to file for divorce in Ohio, the person filing must be a resident of the county of filing for at least 90 days prior to filing.
What if my spouse and I don't live in the same state? 1856
As long as one spouse meets the residency requirements for the state where the divorce wil... more
What are the residency requirements for filing? 1913
Ohio requires at least one of the spouses in an action for dissolution of marriage or divorce to have been a resident of Ohio for at least six months and a resident of the county of filing for at least 90 days immediately before filing for dissolution or divorce.
What are the state residency requirements for filing for dissolution in Ohio? 143
At least one of the spouses must be a resident of the State of Ohio for at least six months immediately prior to the filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

Note that this is as opposed to a divorce, which requires that the person filing be a resident of Ohio for at least six months before filing.

Additional information on the residency requirement can be found here.
Do I have to divorce in the state where I was married? 1801
No. You can divorce in any state where you or your spouse meet the divorce residency requi... more
Can the wife change her name back during the divorce? 1807
Yes, the wife may restore her name to the name she had before the marriage took place. If ... more
Can my spouse have documents notarized in a different state? 2981
Yes. If your spouse is unable to have documents notarized by a Notary Public in the state... more
How do I determine if my income falls below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines? 3528
Some states require a person who is applying for a filing fee waiver to have an annual inc... more
There was an error on one or more of the documents that I filed with the Clerk. Now that I have fixed the error(s) on the document(s), is there anything else I have to do to it before I file an amended version of the document with the Clerk? 2934
Generally, if an error has been made in a document that was filed with the Clerk, the corr... more
My documents ask for the "Cause Number" instead of a "Case Number." Is this correct? 3231
Yes. In a number of U.S. states, the Courts use the term "Cause Number" instead of "Case ... more
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
Is child support required in Ohio? 151
Yes. Even when parents agree to very little or no child support, courts may reject the terms because parents have a duty to support their children both before and after a divorce.

Additional information on minimum child support obligations is available here.
How is child support calculated? 804
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing the online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

Additional information on the calculation of child support can be found here.
What are the different types of custody? 786
In Ohio, joint legal custody is commonly referred to as shared parenting. Shared parenting allocates parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the child(ren) to both parents through a Shared Parenting Plan that sets forth how the parents will share all or some of the aspects of the physical and legal care of the child(ren). In a shared parenting arrangement, both parents are designated the legal custodians and residential parents of the child(ren), although it is NOT required that the physical parenting, sometimes referred to as physical or residential custody, be 50/50.

If shared parenting is not selected, you can choose for one parent to be the legal custodian and residential parent of the child(ren) with a customized visitation schedule, if desired, for the non-residential parent.

Additional information on allocating parental rights and responsibilities is available at Ohio Revised Code 3109.04 and Ohio Revised Code 3105.63(A)(1).
What if my spouse and I have agreed to a child support amount that is different from the standard amount? 783
DivorceWriter shows you the child support calculation under the guidelines using the parents' income. Then, the customer chooses whether to use the guideline calculation or to deviate from that calculation by entering a different child support amount as well a reason for using a different amount. Additional information on using a child support amount that is different from the standard amount set by the Child Support Guidelines is available here.
What is the difference between child support and spousal support? 338
Spousal support is paid to one spouse by the other for the support and care of the receivi... more
We have agreed that one spouse will pay spousal support to the other. What are some options? 1585
Two common ways for one spouse to receive spousal support payments from the other are (1) ... more
Can we specify how we will claim our child(ren) for income tax purposes? 2086
The DivorceWriter online interview allows you to designate which spouse will claim your mi... more
Will we be able to customize our documents to fit our specific custody and visitation arrangement? 332
DivorceWriter accommodates parents who want to share joint legal custody while designating one parent to have primary physical custody of the children.

Choose to customize as little or as much as you need.
  • Customize your own schedule for weekend and weekday vistiation, if any, including setting start and end times.
  • Create a detailed schedule for vacations, holidays, and special occasions, or choose to keep your regular schedule during those times.
  • Decide which parent will have the final say if there are disagreements about major decisions including education, non-emergency health care, and religious upbringing, and create additional decision-making rights if needed.
  • Choose for one parent to claim the child(ren) annually or alternate the right to claim the minor child(ren).
What if my spouse and I have a combined annual income of more than $150,000? 2052
The Ohio Child Support Guidelines Schedule is designed to calculate child support when the combined gross income of both parents is less than $150,000 per year. If the combined gross income of both parents is more than that amount, the court shall determine the amount of the obligor's child support obligation on a case-by-case basis using the schedule as a guideline.

For additional information, see Ohio Revised Code 3119.021 and Ohio Revised Code 3119.04.
We have received our documents, but have decided that we do not want any parenting time schedule. Is this possible? 2239
The DivorceWriter online interview, which you completed previously, was designed to accomm... more
We have children. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 1802
Yes, you can use DivorceWriter to create your divorce forms even if you have children. Th... more
What if my spouse and I have a combined annual income of less than $6,600? 2051
The Ohio Child Support Guidelines Schedule is designed to calculate child support when the combined gross income of both parents is more than $6,600 per year. If the combined gross income of both parents is less than that amount, the court shall determine the amount of the obligor's child support obligation on a case-by-case basis using the schedule as a guideline. Generally, a Child Support Worksheet will not be filed and the support calculation will be set at the hearing.

For additional information, see Ohio Revised Code 3119.021 and Ohio Revised Code 3119.04.
Do I have to pay income tax on spousal support payments that I receive? 1984
For federal income tax purposes, spousal support is commonly considered taxable income for... more
When can a child support order be modified? 357
Either parent can ask the court to modify an existing child support order. Information on child support modification is available at Ohio Revised Code 3119.79.
What if my children live in another state and we already have a court order or informal arrangement concerning child support and child custody? 3651
If you want to have the court issue an order as part of the divorce concerning child suppo... more
Where do I find a Child Custody Affidavit pursuant to R.C. 3127.23? 3271
In 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court enacted uniform domestic relations forms. One such form is the Parenting Proceeding Affidavit, which is a uniform Child Custody Affidavit that is now acceptable for use in all 88 Ohio counties to satisfy the requirements of R.C. 3127.23.
What is the home state of the children under UCCJEA? 3543
While you are entitled to file for divorce in any state where the residency requirements a... more
Where can I find language pertaining to R.C. 3119.22 and 3119.23 in my documents? 3272
The Separation Agreement is a document that must be signed by both spouses. Article Four of the Separation Agreement contains provisions concerning child support including:
  1. The deviated amount of child support that the parties have agreed upon;
  2. The amount of child support that the obligor parent would have been obligated to pay under the standard child support guidelines;
  3. A statement of the cash medical support amount; and
  4. A paragraph explaining that the parties have agreed and the court so finds that the guideline amount is unjust or inappropriate and not in the best interest of the child. The information explaining the reason for the deviation provided by the customer in the DivorceWriter online interview is automatically transferred to that portion of the child support paragraph.
An extensive list of reasons that the court may consider in allowing a deviation in child support, including extended parenting time (shared parenting) with the parent paying support, are listed in R.C. 3119.23 as well as in the DivorceWriter online interview. To view R.C. 3119.23, click here. DivorceWriter cannot assist you in determining reasons for the deviation.
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PROPERTY AND DEBTS
Can I receive a portion of my spouse's retirement plan even though his/her retirement is several years away? 46
The most common way for one spouse to secure the right to a portion of the other spouse's ... more
Do we have to list the debts we have agreed to divide? 1989
About 30% of DivorceWriter customers list debts. The debts listed will appear on the sett... more
We want to transfer real estate into only one spouse's name. Do we need a Quit Claim Deed? 311
Generally, if you want to transfer jointly held real estate into the name of only one spou... more
What options do we have for our real estate? 1887
The DivorceWriter provides an array of options for disposing of your real estate, includin... more
Can we divide/list as many items of personal property as we want? 1764
Choose to list all, some, or no property. The customer decides which property, if any, to ... more
Where is the Waiver of Equal Division and Waiver of Written Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law located in my documents? 3196
Your Ohio Separation Agreements contains a paragraph waiving equal division of property and waiving written Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.
What is the "legal description" of a piece of real estate? 2780
The legal description is usually a one to two paragraph description of land that includes ... more
Why do my DivorceWriter documents say that we do not have life insurance or other property that we actually do have? 2726
Some states require divorcing spouses to provide information on several different types of... more
When can I record the quit claim deed my spouse signed? 3811
One spouse may choose to sign a quit claim deed transferring his or her interest in the ma... more
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
I received my DivorceWriter package today, but I'm not sure I want to file for divorce right away. How how long are these papers good for? 2229
Unsigned divorce documents do not have an expiration date per se. Applicable time periods... more
I can't find my spouse. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 2452
DivorceWriter is designed for couples who have reached an agreement on all issues and who ... more
I am not sure my marriage was legal. Do I even need a divorce? 1970
DivorceWriter is for people who want to end their marriages. If you have any questions reg... more
What if I have an out of state driver's license or no license at all? 995
If the spouse who files for divorce does not have a valid in-state driver's license, it ma... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. Can we still use DivorceWriter? 2234
DivorceWriter documents must be signed by both husband and wife. As long as your spouse is... more
What if one spouse is in the military? 803
If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in t... more
What if one spouse is living in a foreign country? 802
It is important to note that with a dissolution of marriage, both spouses are required to attend. If both spouses cannot attend, a divorce is an option since only the spouse that files for divorce is required to attend the hearing. In Ohio, the non-filing spouse (Defendant) signs a Waiver of Service of Summons so that traditional service by personal delivery or certified mail is not required.

For any documents requiring the notarized signature of a spouse living in a foreign country, consular officials at any U.S. embassy or consulate abroad can provide a service similar to the functions of a notary public in the United States.

When completing the DivorceWriter online interview, leave the state field as "state" and enter the city and country in the city field, such as "Toronto, Canada."
How do we get documents notarized in a foreign country? 2449
The meaning of the term "notary" varies widely from country to country. To find a Notary ... more
Does DivorceWriter provide gender-neutral documents for divorce in states where same-sex marriage is not specifically legalized, but is recognized when performed in another state? 3230
DivorceWriter's current policy is to gender-neutralize our online interview and documents ... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. What address do I use? 2745
You may use the address at the facility where your spouse is currently incarcerated. Divo... more
Can same-sex couples divorce in the state where they were married if they can't get a divorce in the state where they live? 3813
If you are a same-sex couple living in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, you can d... more
How do I end a civil union or domestic partnership? 3446
When recognized in the state, civil unions and/or domestic partnerships can be entered int... more
Which states allow same-sex divorce? 3530
As of June 1, 2015, 36 states plus D.C. allow same-sex marriage and same-sex divorce. Sam... more
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Where can I find additional help? 2410
Additional help is available. Click here to find legal help from the American Bar Associat... more
Where can I find the full-text version of the Ohio divorce statutes online? 2054
More information on divorce, dissolution, child support and custody, and spousal support (alimony) is available in Title 31 of the Ohio Revised Code.
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CUSTOMER SERVICE
If unable to find help on this page, issues of a non-legal nature may be directed to customer service.
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