What is a divorce?

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Divorce is a civil lawsuit to end a marriage, arising when the husband and wife cannot resolve their problems, and ask the court to make the final decisions concerning property division, spousal support and matters regarding the children.

A divorce is started by one spouse, the plaintiff, who files a complaint with the clerk of court. In the complaint, plaintiff must claim, and eventually prove, the appropriate statutory grounds for divorce. Discuss the statutory grounds and your facts with your attorney.

The clerk of court “serves” upon the other spouse, the defendant, a copy of the complaint and a summons. Service is generally made by certified mail or personal delivery. If the defendant’s residence is not known, there is a procedure for service by publishing a legal notice in a newspaper. This publication method of service is effective for obtaining a divorce decree, but generally is not effective for obtaining orders about matters such as spousal or child support.

The defendant has 28 days after service of the complaint and summons to file an answer to respond to the complaint. The defendant may file a counterclaim requesting a divorce, stating the grounds the defendant believes apply. The plaintiff files a reply in response to the counterclaim.

Most divorce cases are eventually settled by agreement. A proposed agreed decree of divorce is prepared, signed by the parties and submitted to the court for approval. If approved, the agreement is made effective by a court journal entry.

If the parties cannot agree to resolve all of their disputed issues, the disputes are presented to the court. The court will review the parties’ evidence and make its decision based on Ohio law. This info is form https://www.ohiobar.org/ForPublic/Resources/LawFactsPamphlets/Pages/LawFactsPamphlet-8.aspx