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Ohio Court Records

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How to File for Divorce in Ohio

Divorce in Ohio State occurs when a married couple decides to dissolve their marriage legally, in accordance with the state's judicial system. Persons seeking dissolution of marriage in Ohio must have been a resident for at least six months before they are eligible to file for a divorce. The Ohio 2018 Divorce Report reports that a total of 33,969 divorces were processed which was about 51.7% per 100 marriages throughout the year. 43.4% of the divorcees had minor children. The process of filing for a divorce in Ohio usually depends on the grounds for divorce and other factors such as if minor children are involved. A dissolution of marriage is a no-fault marriage termination in which the couple has agreed on all the terms of their split up. Divorce in Ohio is granted based on fault-finding and takes a longer process in court if the couples cannot reach an agreement on the terms. However, state laws allow a divorce action to be turned into a dissolution of marriage under section 3105.08 of the state's divorce law.

Do I need a Reason for Divorce in Ohio?

Per section 3105.01 of the state laws, the Ohio court of common pleas may grant a divorce under the following reasons:

  • If either party had another spouse at the time of the marriage
  • Absence of one of the couples for at least a year
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Fraudulent marriage contracts
  • Any gross neglect of the duty by a spouse
  • Consistent drunkenness of a partner
  • Incarceration of the estranged partner at the time of divorce filing
  • Legal separation of both parties that wasn't interrupted for at least a year
  • If both parties agree they are incompatible

During a divorce case, a judge will examine if the plaintiff's reason for divorce is sufficient as prescribed in the state's divorce laws. If the reason doesn't satisfy the requirements of the law, the judge may not grant such divorce filing.

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.

Why do I need a Divorce Lawyer?

Divorce lawyers know the laws guiding the steps in filing for a divorce in Ohio. Hiring a lawyer for a divorce case may help convince the judge to grant a divorce especially if the plaintiff cannot find a suitable ground for divorce. It is advisable for persons filing for a fault-based divorce to hire a divorce lawyer for a better chance of the court granting the divorce.

How do I Get Started in a Divorce in Ohio?

Persons looking to file for divorce in Ohio will need to file a Complaint for Divorce (with children or without children) form with the clerk of court in the county they wish to have their case. Divorce seekers that have minor children will need to also file a parenting proceeding affidavit. Other forms that may be required include a request for service, affidavit of income and expense, and an affidavit of property. Interested persons may obtain these forms on the Ohio court forms webpage or at the clerk's office. The party filing for divorce is required to serve the other party with copies of all the documents filed. Serving of documents may be through the mail or the county Sheriff's service. The court schedules a hearing within 30 to 90 days from the filing date. Individuals served with a divorce petition will need to file an Answer to Complaint for Divorce form with the clerk of court.

How to File for Divorce in Ohio Without a Lawyer?

Ohio divorce laws permit interested persons to file for divorce without hiring an attorney. For mutual dissolution of marriage, involved parties may agree on the terms of divorce including property sharing, child custody, and spousal support. Involved parties may also appear in court to present their arguments in a divorce proceeding.

How Does Ohio Divorce Mediation Work?

Divorce mediation is a process that involves the parties meeting a neutral third-party tasked with helping estranged couples to resolve disputes and ease communication so that they may reach a mutual agreement.

Under section 3105.091 on Conciliation Procedures, the court may mandate parties seeking a divorce to visit a mediator usually at the county court. The court gives orders for mediation at least 30 days from the filing of the divorce. Either party may also move the motion for divorce mediation. Court hearings for divorce may not take place until the mediation period is over. Parenting issues are also mediated if there are minor children involved. Mediation often produces faster agreement terms of divorce than litigation.

Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain, and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.

How Long After Mediation is Divorce Final in Ohio?

Divorce laws in Ohio mandate mediation period not to exceed 90 days, which may be followed by a court hearing depending on the outcome of the mediation. If the parties involved can reach an agreement, the process may be faster as the judge will pass a verdict based on their terms. However, the divorce process may take a longer period if the mediation doesn't yield any agreement among the parties involved.

Are Divorce Records Public in Ohio?

Under Ohio Open Records Law, divorce records are not exempt from the public's inspection or copying and are therefore available to the public. Persons may see the copies of the petition for divorce, some details of the parties involved, and the court's verdict in a divorce record. However, some private information such as social security details may be redacted from divorce records, and minor children's names may be written as initials.

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.

How do I Get Ohio Divorce Records?

Divorce records in Ohio are generated and managed by the clerk of the county courthouse where the divorces were filed. Different counties provide multiple methods of obtaining divorce records such as on their websites, via mail, or in-person. To get records via mail, interested persons may prepare and submit a written request containing details of the records requested. Such information includes names of the parties involved, case number, and year of divorce. Interested persons may send written requests to the clerk's address, enclosed with required fees. Alternatively, interested persons may visit the clerk's office to obtain divorce records. Interested individuals may use the Ohio County Clerks directory to retrieve the address, contact details, and websites of the clerks' offices.

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