Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Ohio

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Ohio

For those seeking a divorce in the state of Ohio, there are many aspects to consider, starting from contacting an attorney to whether or not you’ll need to go to court, where a judge will decide visitation rights and child support. However, before any divorce proceedings can take place, it is important to understand whether your divorce is contested or uncontested; knowing the difference, and understanding how it applies to your specific case, will allow you to make appropriate decisions regarding your divorce.

In Ohio, a marriage can be ended by dissolution or divorce. In dissolution, both spouses meet outside of court and agree on a separation, as well as settle all of their affairs. They can receive assistance from attorneys, and will then file paperwork with the court to notify the state of the dissolution. Dissolutions are uncontested, meaning that both spouses agree on the terms of the termination of the marriage in a contract. Both spouses must appear at a court hearing for a dissolution of marriage; the petition is filed jointly, and the spouses are known as the Petitioner and Co-Petitioner, respectively.

If the two spouses cannot agree to a dissolution, one must file for divorce; an uncontested divorce is defined as one in which, after one spouse files for divorce, the other spouse does not file a reply within 42 days of the original complaint. Then, a judge must rule at a hearing that the divorce is fair to the non-responsive spouse (the Defendant) and that he or she has had adequate notification of the divorce. Furthermore, the judge must rule that there are adequate grounds for divorce in order to that divorce to be effective. Unlike in a dissolution, only one party (the filing spouse) must appear in court.

In contrast, a contested divorce is one in which the non-filing spouse replies to the original filing, and thus, the case proceeds to court. The filing spouse (the Plaintiff) and the Defendant will each have adequate legal representation, and the judge will decide the details of child support, child custody, and/or alimony.

If you are considering filing for divorce in Ohio, make sure that you have been an Ohio resident for at least six months, and a resident in the county in which you are filing for divorce for at least 90 days. Contact your local Columbus family law attorney- Buskirk & Associates for advice on how to proceed.

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