Divorce – Where to Start?

Divorce is one process by which someone can end their marriage.  Divorce is an “adversarial” type of proceeding in which the parties are legally terminating their marital relationship, and are in disagreement as to at least one issue.  If this adversarial nature is not desired, or if the parties find themselves in agreement on numerous issues, it may be an option to consider Dissolution (See Dissolution).  However, if divorce is the route one wishes to pursue, there is information one find useful.  

How to File a Divorce? 

Before one can file a divorce, there are a few requirements the filing party must satisfy.  The filing party must be an Ohio resident for at least six months, while being a resident of the county they are filing in for the last 90 days. 

However, once one satisfies the above requirements, they are permitted to file their divorce.  To start a divorce, one must file a Complaint for Divorce with a court.  This complaint will state the “grounds” for divorce.  There are many grounds utilized by parties that wish to file a divorce, however one of the most common grounds is incompatibility.  Ohio permits divorce on the parties’ incompatibility, something that is not true in all states.  In Ohio, a divorce on the grounds of incompatibility is considered to be “no fault” , which means that neither party “did” something to cause this divorce, but rather the parties simply cannot get along.  One can list multiple grounds for divorce, however only one is required.  

In addition, there will typically be a filing fee, affidavits, and some other paperwork submitted with the Complaint for Divorce.  Each county will have different paperwork and filing fees that they will require to open a case.  However, upon the filing of the required paperwork with the court, a divorce action has been started. 

What to Do After Filing? 

After filing, there are a variety of steps one can take.  The local rules of one’s respective county may define and specify these steps.  However, it is almost guaranteed that the spouse will file a Response to the initial Complaint for Divorce.  This Response can simply serve as an acknowledgement of the initial filing, it could refute facts within the initial filing, or it could even state new grounds for divorce, as claimed by the other spouse.  

This will begin the often lengthy process of a divorce case.  One of the first steps a party may take is to conduct extensive “discovery”.  Discovery is a process by which a party to the case can demand the production of documents from the other spouse or anyone else that may potentially have useful information.  The discovery process can perform many purposes including:

  • determining the value of assets and liabilities;
  • finding “hidden” assets;
  • determining what is in “the “best interests” of the children; and 
  • determining the appropriate ground or reason for the divorce.

The Court and parties will review and value all of the assets and debts of the parties, including separate, inherited, premarital or “separate” as well as marital assets and debts. Then, the Court will divide and assign values to each and every marital asset and debt of the parties. The Court will also rule on all issues relating to the minor children of the parties including the future residence(s) and or schools for the children, the parents’ involvement in decision making for the children, support for the children, medical insurance for the children, and the use of dependency exemptions. Divorce may also involve issues concerning support of the former Husband or Wife (See Spousal Support (Alimony)).

Is Trial the Only Option? 

At this point in the process, the parties will likely be considering trial.  They may be considering what evidence they will use, or what depositions they still need to hold.  Further, the parties may be considering the potential costs or time that will be taken by going through with a full trial.  However, at any time after filing a Divorce the parties may “settle” any issues, avoiding the expense and time in having the Court resolve the problems through a trial.  If the parties settle, they may ask the Court to approve their terms in an Agreed Order. 

However, if the parties move on, they will have a full evidentiary trial where they present evidence on all disputes. These issues could range from “every” issue which could possibly be before the Court, to the submission of just one issue, such as “custody”, or the valuation of marital interest in a particular asset such as a family business or medical practice.  It is critical for to obtain experienced legal advice when making a decision as to settle or move to trial.

Contact Us 

The Law Office of Anthony W. Greco provides each and every client with professional, aggressive and practical representation. Our top priority is our client’s unique goals and concerns. Our firm has experience preparing for all issues involved in a divorce or a dissolution. From complex, high-asset, and emotionally charged cases, to the most basic and amicable dissolution, Attorney Greco’s team is prepared to aggressively represent our clients’ concerns and interests from the first day of representation through trial.  Click Here to contact us and see what sets us apart from other firms. 

Divorce Decree