Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Ohio Divorce Forms and Process

Very few people say their wedding vows expecting to get divorced years later. You have options if you're questioning whether you want to stay in your marriage. Ohio law provides for both divorce and legal separation.

In this article, we'll explain the processes for an Ohio divorce and separation. We’ll also discuss the specific requirements for separation and divorce in Ohio. This includes the state’s residency requirement, waiting period, and other legal requirements.

There Is a Difference between Dissolution and Divorce in Ohio

Most states use the terms “divorce” and “dissolution of marriage” interchangeably. This isn’t the case in Ohio. Unlike most states, Ohio distinguishes between a dissolution and a divorce.

You would file for a dissolution of marriage when your spouse doesn’t contest the divorce. This is the ideal solution when a couple agrees on alimony, child custody, and property division.

A divorce involves a contested hearing where the judge may decide these issues for you. This doesn’t mean you and your spouse can’t submit a marital settlement agreement. You can let the judge know that you have already worked out the allocation of parenting time, child and spousal support, and division of your property.

The judge at the local court will hear evidence and decide any issues you haven’t already resolved.

Grounds for Divorce in Ohio

Under Ohio law, there are 11 grounds for divorce. Most states only offer six or seven. You must cite specific grounds for divorce when you file your complaint for divorce. Remember, your spouse can file a counterclaim, arguing that you are the reason the marriage broke down.

Grounds for divorce in Ohio include:

  • Incompatibility
  • Neglect of duty
  • Separation for at least one year
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Abandonment of at least one year
  • Fraudulent contract for marriage
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Already married at the time of marriage
  • Imprisonment
  • One spouse obtained a divorce in another state without notifying the other spouse

You can cite more than one of these if need be. You’ll have to submit proof supporting your grounds for divorce. The judge won’t simply take your word for it, but family court judges rarely challenge your grounds for divorce.

Your spouse may challenge your allegations. They may do this because they don’t want to be the person responsible for the breakdown of your marriage.

Whether your spouse was faithful or not won't impact issues like spousal support or child custody. If there is domestic violence in the home or your spouse has a problem with drugs or alcohol, it may impact the parenting time of your minor children.

Ohio Divorce Forms and Process Overview

It can be challenging for a layperson to understand the language in the Ohio divorce statutes. This is why it’s a good idea to consult an experienced divorce lawyer to help with your case. Below is a list of Ohio's divorce forms. We have also included statutes that govern the divorce process.

Statutes and Forms


  • Ohio Domestic Relations Section 3105.03 (residency requirement)
  • Ohio Domestic Relations Section 3105.01 (grounds of divorce)
  • Ohio Domestic Relations Section 3105.08 (conversion of divorce to dissolution)


Basic Steps in the Divorce Process in Ohio

Many people choose to hire an attorney to handle their divorce case. You aren’t legally required to do so. If you and your spouse have no minor children and few assets, it may not be that difficult to handle your divorce case yourself.

We'll explain the basic steps in the Ohio divorce process to make things easier. We will also discuss some of the various forms you’ll have to submit to the clerk of courts when you file your complaint for divorce.

You’ll have to pay filing fees throughout the divorce proceedings. Of course, you must pay the initial filing fee of $200-$400. The exact amount will depend on the facts of your case and whether you have minor children.

The filing fees may vary depending on what county or city you are filing in. Be sure to check with the court you are filing in to obtain the correct fee amounts.

You must pay additional fees if you need to file motions along the way. For example, you may ask the court for a temporary order regarding custody or child support, or require the court to issue a restraining order in cases involving abuse or domestic violence.

The fees for these motions vary. If you qualify, you can ask the county clerk for a waiver of the filing fee.

Complaint and Answer

When you file for divorce, you are telling the court that either you or your spouse is at fault for the marriage breakdown. You must state the cause of the divorce in your complaint.

The complaint also includes what the filing spouse is seeking from the defendant. This may include:

  • Child support
  • Financial disclosure
  • Spousal support (alimony)
  • An equitable division of property
  • A decree of divorce

In addition to your complaint for divorce (dissolution), you must attach any additional required forms. The following is a list of documents typically filed in divorce actions:

  • Affidavit of Property and Debts
  • Affidavit of Basic Information, Income, and Expenses
  • Request for Service
  • Separation Agreement
  • Parenting Proceeding Affidavit (if you have minor children)
  • Health Insurance Affidavit

These forms can be attached to your complaint. You don’t need all of these forms for an uncontested divorce (dissolution).

Determining what papers and forms you must file can be confusing. You may want to seek legal advice before submitting your paperwork to the Court of Common Pleas.

After you serve your spouse (defendant) with a copy of the complaint, they will have 28 days to file an Answer. An Answer informs the court about whether you agree or disagree with the allegations and statements made in the Complaint.


Once you receive your spouse’s answer, you will begin discovery. This is a process where the two spouses exchange information related to the divorce proceedings. If you hire an attorney, they will handle this for you.

One of the benefits of retaining a divorce lawyer is that they are familiar with the local rules and have dealt with the domestic relations courts before. This will make things move more smoothly and quickly.


The court will schedule a final hearing or trial if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can’t reach a settlement. Getting to this phase of the divorce process can take months or longer depending on the complexity of the issues.

After both sides present their case to the court, the judge will issue their final ruling. Once the court issues its final judgment, your divorce will become final.

Discuss the Divorce Process in Ohio With a Family Law Attorney

The divorce process in Ohio can be complex. It can also take a long time, depending on the circumstances. Contact a family law attorney if you're facing divorce and need help completing the forms or understanding the process. They can help you devise a shared parenting plan and help you achieve the best outcome possible.

Note: State laws are always subject to change due to new legislation, higher court rulings which include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information, consult an attorney or conduct legal research to verify your state law(s).

Ohio Divorce Forms and Process: Related Resources

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Divorces are tough and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Divorce lawyers can secure alimony, visitation rights, and property division

Get tailored divorce advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options