Does It Take Long to Get Divorced in Ohio?
The divorce process can be stressful, and no one wants a divorce case to drag on. But, you also don’t want to cut corners when important decisions are in play. Decisions like who keeps the family home, who the children spend most of their time with, and who is responsible for debts incurred during the marriage.
The ease or difficulty of resolving those issues is the most significant factor in determining an Ohio dissolution of marriage or divorce timeline. In fact, Ohio law provides for a different, more streamlined process for those couples who are able to resolve all issues by agreement.
Contested v. Uncontested Divorce Timeline
Ohio Dissolution of Marriage Timeline
In Ohio, couples seeking to end a marriage have the option of using the uncontested process known as dissolution of marriage.
To begin a dissolution of marriage proceeding, the couple files a joint petition. The dissolution process is generally quicker, cheaper, and less stressful than a contested divorce. However, dissolution requires that the parties are able to agree on all issues.
If the court determines that the agreement the parties reach meets the appropriate legal standards, such as being in the best interests of any minor children, an Ohio decree of dissolution may be entered as soon as 30 days after the filing the petition for dissolution.
The Ohio Supreme Court guidelines say that a dissolution case should be concluded within 90 days from the date of filing.
It’s important to note, however, that in a dissolution case much of the work happens before the petition is filed. How long it actually takes to obtain a dissolution decree from the time you decide to end your marriage will depend on several factors, such as:
- How quickly you seek legal representation to get the process started
- To what degree are you and your spouse willing and able to work together to resolve issues
- The simplicity or complexity of the issues in your case
When both parties are committed to finding an amicable resolution, the pre-petition process can move swiftly.
Ohio Divorce Timeline
When the parties can’t reach an agreement and take advantage of the dissolution process, one spouse or the other will file a petition for divorce.
A divorce case may ultimately be resolved by agreement, or some or all of the issues may be resolved by the court after a contested hearing. The same factors referenced in connection with a dissolution case will determine how long a contested divorce case takes to resolve.
The more willing and able the parties are to negotiate effectively, the more quickly the case can move forward. Taking advantage of mediation can also speed up the divorce process. However, even when each party is negotiating in good faith, complex divorce cases can take time to resolve.
The Ohio Supreme Court guidelines say that a contested divorce case without children should be resolved within 12 months of filing, and a case involving children within 18 months. However, the most complex and contentious Ohio divorce cases may take longer to finalize.
Talk to an Ohio Divorce Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Whether you are near an agreement with your spouse and plan to pursue the dissolution process or you are embarking on what may be a long, hotly-contested proceeding, one thing is certain: the sooner you get started, the sooner your case can be resolved.
Scheduling a consultation with an experienced Ohio divorce lawyer is the first step.