Libby Says

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Ohio?

The answer is that there is no answer because it depends on the circumstances. Divorcing a spouse in Ohio can be quick in some cases, and quite lengthy in others. The bigger question would be better started with “Do I qualify for an uncontested divorce?” or “Must my divorce be contested?”

The fastest way to get a divorce in Ohio is by filing an uncontested divorce. These usually take around 3 months on average provided that it is in fact uncontested. The average contested divorce in Ohio usually takes about a year but may take up to two years or even longer, given the nature of the circumstances.

A divorce in Ohio will also vary timewise depending on the county you file in, the judge, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, and you and your spouse.

A smaller majority of people will be able get an uncontested divorce. If both parties agree about the divorce, have only been married for a short time, don’t have any children together, few assets to divide, and agree on the division of those assets, then they may be able to qualify for an uncontested divorce.

Going through an uncontested divorce

There are many advantages to an uncontested divorce as IT IS A simpler way to go through a divorce. Uncontested divorces ARE more cost effective and it typically saves time, energy, and emotional trauma which often comes with divorce. An uncontested divorce can eliminate ugly court battles and help both parties come through the process with their dignity and self-respect intact. If both spouses can control their bitterness over the divorce and approach the details in a more practical and rational way, an uncontested divorce is definitely the way to go.

Going through a contested divorce

Contested divorces come about when marriages are very broken and there is little to no communication left in the marriage. Everything turns into a war or argument, even over the smallest of things. There also may be physical violence, or emotional abuse going on within the marriage. In these circumstances, contested divorces are necessary as the parties will need someone on their behalf to represent them and their needs in the divorce process. Oftentimes there are some spouses who just simply refuse to talk about the divorce and ignore that it’s even happening. Ignoring the issue, unfortunately, will only make things worse, and when one spouse refuses to negotiate, then it will be impossible to reach an equitable settlement.

Agreements should never be reached when either party is under any sort of pressure. One spouse may be very controlling and will attempt to railroad the other party into an agreement. Having an experienced Divorce Lawyer in Ohio on your side is critical. Contested divorces absolutely require a divorce lawyer who knows the details of your situation. Many divorces are contested simply because the two parties cannot agree on the specifics of the divorce including child custody, spousal support, asset division and so on.

When there are issues that divorcing couples cannot agree on, the issues can take many months to be heard by a court, and the time to be heard will be determined by where you reside, and the amount of cases a given court district is hearing. Populated areas such Columbus, Grandview Heights and Delaware County have judges with hundreds of cases on the docket, meaning it can take a significant amount of time to get each hearing scheduled.

When a contested divorce becomes uncontested

This may sound like a strange proposition, but many divorces that start out contested, end up being “uncontested” due to cases going to mediation. Mediation proceedings can help solve many of the sticking points between spouses that are keeping a divorce agreement from getting done. While these divorces ultimately end up “uncontested” by way of settlement, they don’t have the luxury of being fast tracked the way an uncontested divorce is handled. When the divorce starts out as contested, it must go through all the standard court proceedings before reaching mediation. While the outcome may ultimately be better, and all parties come to an agreement that they are satisfied with, it is still a slow process for the divorcing spouses.

When a divorce goes to trial

Only about one percent of Ohio divorces will go to trial. On average it will take about a year to get to trial. In best case scenarios, it could take as little as five months. In worst case scenarios it could take years, depending on the judge’s caseload. Some things you can do to speed up the process, even if yours is the one percent that ends up needing to go to trial:

● Most delays in Ohio divorces are due to missing or poorly prepared documents. Be sure your financial documents are in order and complete. Ensure they are properly prepared, and that you have them ready to go at the beginning of the case.

● Communication with your attorney is key.

● Have things ready to go quickly when your attorney asks for them. Being prepared is a critical way to speeding up your divorce process.

● Be reasonable in your negotiations including custody, visitation and child support.

● Never make accusations of domestic violence, child abuse, or parental alienation unless they are true.

● Keep up with the deadlines and respond to information requests.

● Cooperating with your spouse, however impossible as it may seem, will speed things up. You don’t have to agree with everything your spouse requests, but you don’t have to take a hardline approach on every issue either.

● Don’t ignore the possibility of mediation. Major sticking points in the divorce process can often be minimized or even eliminated through mediation. You can avoid the divorce trial altogether if all issues can be ironed out.

Divorce in Ohio Key Takeaways

The time it takes to get a divorce in Ohio can vary depending on several factors. Here are some key points to consider:

Residency Requirements:

Before filing for divorce in Ohio, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months preceding the filing. Additionally, you should file in the county where you or your spouse currently resides.

Waiting Period:

Ohio has a mandatory waiting period, and you cannot get a divorce until at least 30 days after filing the divorce complaint. This waiting period is designed to give couples a chance to reconsider and possibly reconcile.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce:

An uncontested divorce, where both parties agree on all issues, may be finalized more quickly than a contested divorce, where there are disagreements on matters like property division, child custody, or spousal support.

Court Caseload:

The caseload of the court in your county can affect the processing time. Busier courts may have longer wait times for hearings and finalizing divorce decrees.

Negotiations and Mediation:

If you and your spouse can reach agreements on key issues through negotiation or mediation, the process may be expedited. This allows you to present a mutually agreed-upon divorce settlement to the court.

Complexity of Issues:

Complex issues, such as significant assets, child custody disputes, or spousal support disagreements, may prolong the divorce process. Resolving these matters can take time and may require multiple court hearings.

Legal Representation:

Having legal representation can streamline the process. An experienced divorce attorney can guide you through the legal requirements, paperwork, and court proceedings, ensuring that everything is in order and moves forward efficiently.

Finalizing the Divorce Decree:

After the waiting period and resolution of all issues, the court will issue a divorce decree. The timing of this final step can vary, but it typically occurs a few months after filing.

It’s essential to note that the specifics of each divorce case can influence the timeline. While some divorces may be finalized relatively quickly, others may take several months, or even longer, particularly if there are contested issues that require resolution through court hearings. Consulting with a family law attorney can provide you with guidance tailored to your unique situation.

As you can see, the amount of time it takes you to get divorced in Ohio hinges on several factors. The best choice you can make early in the process is to hire an experienced, knowledgeable Ohio family law attorney to help guide you through the divorce maze.

Guest Posting by Dmitriy Borshchak

Dmitriy Borshchak

Dmitriy Borshchak, the founding attorney of The Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak, is a committed family lawyer based in Columbus. While initially venturing into a brief career in medicine, Dmitriy discovered his genuine passion in the legal arena. He is dedicated to assisting clients, guiding them through challenging situations, and providing expert legal support.

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