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General Procedure Overview

DISSOLUTION: If both spouses wish to end the marriage, and agree to the disposition of ALL issues of the marriage, they may seek a Dissolution of Marriage.

  1. Submit all required documents for review to the Case Management Office, with both parties signatures.
  2. Once all documents have been approved for filing, file those documents with the Clerk of Courts and pay the filing fees.
  3. If there are minor children, both parties must attend the parenting class pursuant to the DR628 Notice of Requirement to Attend Mandatory Parent Education Class after filing.
  4. The court will contact you or your attorney to schedule a final hearing. Both spouses MUST appear for the final hearing.
  5. After the final hearing, the court will file the decree which will be mailed to each party and attorney of record by the Clerk of Courts.
DIVORCE: If the spouses cannot agree on all issues, but one of the spouses wishes to end the marriage, they must sue the other spouse by filing a Complaint for Divorce. A Divorce is similar to any other lawsuit in many ways.
  1. Submit a Complaint for Divorce and all other required documents to the Domestic Relations Court Case Management Office for review.
  2. Once all documents have been approved for filing, filed those documents with Clerk of Courts and payment of the filing fee.
  3. Serve the other spouse with a copy of the Complaint for Divorce. The service may be by personal service by someone not related to the case in any way, by certified mail, or by other means required by the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure.  Arrangements for service of documents are made through the Clerk of Courts’ Office.
  4. Once they are served, the other spouse must file an Answer to the Complaint within 28 days of the time served (not the date the Complaint was filed).
  5. If there are minor children, you must attend mandatory parenting education at pursuant to the DR628 Notice of Requirement to Attend Mandatory Parent Education Class after filing.
  6. If the other spouse DOES NOT FILE an Answer or respond within 28 days after service:
    • The Court will set a “uncontested divorce hearing”;
    • You must prepare and submit to Case Management Office a Decree that resolves all issues and is conforms to the court requirements/rules
    • Once the Decree is approved, Mail a copy of the Decree to the other spouse at the address where they were served at least 14 days before the default hearing.
    • You must attend the uncontested divorce hearing and bring a witness.
  1. If the other spouse FILES an Answer:
    • The Court will set a SCHEDULING CONFERENCE two to three weeks after the Answer is filed. The SCHEDULING CONFERENCE is the opportunity for the Court to meet with the parties, review any issues involved in that particular case, to set deadlines for the exchange of documents and evidence (completion of discovery), and set future hearing dates.
    • The court will schedule a trial date if all issues are not resolved.

LEGAL SEPARATION: The procedure for Legal Separation is similar to the procedure for Divorce, but the Complaint is for Legal Separation rather than Divorce. In a Legal Separation, the assets, debts, and other issues of the marriage are resolved by agreement or Court’s Decision after trial, but the parties remain legally married.

DISCLAIMER: THIS DOCUMENT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. It is a general overview of typical events in a Divorce proceeding. It is provided for informational purposes only regarding procedure. YOU SHOULD CONSULT AN ATTORNEY FOR LEGAL ADVICE REGARDING YOUR DISSOLUTION, DIVORCE, OR LEGAL SEPARATION, AND ISSUES SPECIFIC TO YOUR CASE.