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Ohio Court Records

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What Are Ohio Divorce Records?

Ohio divorce records contain information on the dissolution of marriages. These records are maintained and provided by the Probate Court in the county where the divorce is finalized. According to a 2018 report of the United States Census Bureau, Ohio’s divorce rate is 7.2 out of every 1000 women over 15 years of age.

Before a person can obtain a divorce or dissolution of marriage in Ohio, the individual must have lived in a county in the state for at least six months. In Ohio, divorce may come about in various ways; examples include:

  • Arbitration divorce
  • Collaborative divorce
  • Contested and uncontested divorce
  • Default divorce
  • Fault and no-fault divorce
  • Mediated divorce
  • Summary or simplified divorce

As a no-fault divorce state, incompatibility is the usual condition for a divorce in Ohio. However, as stated in Ohio revised codes, other grounds for a divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Bigamy by either party
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Fraudulent contract
  • Gross neglect of duty
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Imprisonment of the other party in a state or federal correctional institution at the time the complaint is filed
  • Procurement of a divorce outside Ohio, where only the spouse who procured it is released from the obligations of the marriage
  • The adverse party’s willful absence where both spouses have lived separately and without cohabitation for an uninterrupted year

In Ohio, a divorce is finalized when the judgment entry for divorce document is signed by the judge. An uncontested divorce may not exceed six months while contested divorce proceedings may be between 6 to 18 months. However, it is not unusual for proceedings to take longer.

The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.

How Are Divorce Records Generated In Ohio?

The generation of divorce records begins with the petition for marriage dissolution and ends with the signing of the final judgment. Hence, divorce records consist of information included in documents provided to the court and other information gathered during court proceedings.

In Ohio, divorce records are retained by the probate court in the county where the divorce was finalized. Unlike most states in the country, copies of Ohio divorce records are not provided by the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. Generally, divorce records contain information on both parties, including names, social security numbers, age, residence, date, names of children, grounds for divorce, and marital history.

Are Divorce Records Public In Ohio?

Most divorce records in Ohio are open to any member of the public as provided under the Ohio revised codes. However, certain confidential information may be excluded from copies of divorce records available to the public. Such information includes financial details, social security numbers, or victims of domestic violence.

Authorization is usually required to obtain certified copies of divorce records. Authorized parties with access to these records include the former spouses, immediate family members, parents or legal guardians, or other persons authorized by law or court order.

Ohio divorce records may be sealed by court order based on certain criteria. Sealed records will remove sensitive information and documents from public view but will remain available to eligible persons permitted by law.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What Are The Types Of Divorce Records Available In Ohio?

There are only two kinds of divorce records available in the state of Ohio. These include divorce case files and the divorce decree. Both types of records are provided by the Probate Court.

Divorce case files: Divorce case files contain the bulk of information generated by the court during proceedings. These consist of information concerning court actions, original petition and response, transcripts of proceedings, testimonies, relevant birth, marriage certificates, settlement agreements between parties, among other details. Citizens can view these files from the office of the Probate Court Clerk.

Divorce decrees: Divorce decrees bear the details of the final judgment on a divorce. The decrees contain statements about the specific rights and responsibilities of each party involved in a divorce. These include parental rights, custody agreements and visitation, child support, spousal support, division of property, and other settlements agreed upon by the parties or decided by the judge. Parties to a divorce and other authorized persons may request for certified copies of a divorce decree.

How Do I Get Divorce Records In Ohio?

Divorce case files and decrees in Ohio are maintained at the court where the divorce was finalized. Interested individuals can make requests in person, via mails, or online. Interested persons may obtain copies of divorce records by submitting a written request to or visiting the local courthouse where the divorce case filed. The individual will be required to provide the following information for a quick search of available records:

  • Full names, suffixes, and other personal information of the parties
  • The day, month, or year when the divorce occurred
  • Location, residence, or county where the divorce occurred
  • The court or case number

A valid identification or authorization letter may be required to complete the record along with the processing fee. The fee includes the charge for the time spent to search available records and the cost of making copies. The search fee may cost up to $30 per search, while copies cost $1 per page. Additional fees may be incurred where certification of records is required. For mail-in requests, ensure to include a self-addressed stamp envelope.

While divorce and marriage records may be searched through government sources and organizations, the availability of these documents cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these entities are not government-sponsored; therefore, record availability may vary further. Also note that marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information the records contain, and are often sealed. Hence, bearing in mind that these factors determine the availability of any type of marriage or divorce record.

Who Can Obtain Divorce Records In Ohio?

Under the Ohio revised codes, members of the public can access divorce records that have not been sealed. However, because of the sensitive nature of divorce records, these are often sealed, and certain information restricted from public views. Also, certified copies of divorce records are only available to persons with the right clearance. These persons include immediate family members, parents or legal guardians, or other persons authorized by law or court rule.

Are Ohio Divorce Records Available Online?

While certified divorce records are not made available online in Ohio, the public may access divorce case information via the county court’s websites or through third-party sites. Ohio local courts maintaining computerized records can afford the public electronic access to such records. This access may be available remotely or via the public computer terminal located in the Clerk of Court office. Interested persons may use these means to search records of divorce case information that occurred in the county. However, this kind of divorce records may not suffice in place of a divorce decree, which is only available to authorized persons.

Note, access to available Ohio divorce records via a third-party site may come at a fee. Since divorce records are government documents, the originality of such access may not be guaranteed.

How Do I Seal My Divorce Records In Ohio?

Individuals seeking to seal a divorce record in Ohio are required to file a motion petitioning the probate court in the same county where the divorce was finalized. Records may be sealed to prevent disclosure of potentially harmful information concerning victims of domestic violence, minors, and other sensitive criminals, personal, or financial information.

An exigent or justifiable reason is needed because the judge must agree that the need for sealing is compelling enough to warrant limiting the public’s right to information before the court order for record sealing can be given. Sealing is therefore not guaranteed as records are sealed at the judge’s discretion.

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