Filing for Divorce in Summit County, Ohio – What to Expect

Summit County Ohio divorceTo file for a divorce in Summit County, Ohio, the person filing the formal complaint must go to the Domestic Relations Court at 205 S. High St. in downtown Akron.  The party who files for divorce must have been an Ohio resident at least six months immediately before filing for the divorce and a resident of Summit County for at least 90 days prior to filing. The general information telephone number for the Summit County Domestic Relations Court is (330) 643-2365.

A Summit County divorce complaint must be answered within 28 days or the case will be considered an uncontested divorce.  If a complaint is filed against you, it is important to contact a divorce attorney.  If you do not answer the complaint within the time-frame, or do not answer completely, you may not be able to contest the specific grounds for divorce that have been alleged against you.  This could be very important if you are dealing with a reasonable amount of assets or if children are involved.

Grounds for divorce

Grounds for divorce in Ohio include:

  • Adultery
  • Bigamy (one spouse is already married to another person
  • Cruelty, Abuse or Violence
  • Fraudulent Contract (Fraudulent misrepresentations prior to marriage)
  • Gross Neglect of Duty (such as not supporting the spouse)
  • Habitual Drunkenness
  • Imprisonment of the Other Spouse (at the time of filing the complaint)
  • Incompatibility (unless denied by either party)
  • Procurement of a divorce outside the state, by a husband or wife (by virtue of which party who procured it is released from obligations of the marriage, while those obligations remain binding upon the other party)
  • Willful Absence of the adverse party from the Home for a Continuous One-Year Period

What happens after one files for divorce

When a party files for divorce, mutual restraining orders go into effect and remain in effect until the case is finalized.  Both parties are restrained from selling or destroying assets; threatening, abusing, or interfering with the other party; incurring further credit; changing insurance coverage; and removing children from the county.

Temporary orders concerning such matters as parental rights and responsibilities and support, or a spouse moving out of the marital home, can be issued after requesting a temporary hearing conducted by a magistrate.  These orders remain in effect until the case ends or the court modifies them.

An uncontested divorce

If the divorce is uncontested, a final hearing is set about four months after the divorce complaint is filed.  The defendant must have been notified of the hearing unless this is not possible because he or she is missing, etc.  The defendant, though not contesting the divorce, may provide information at the hearing about allocation of parental rights, child support, property division and spousal support.  If there are major issues to be decided, a trial will be set before a judge.  Otherwise, the case may be resolved at the hearing.

A contested divorce

If the divorce is contested, as one might assume, the case will likely take longer.  A “status conference” is held with a magistrate about four months after the complaint is filed.  Each party submits an affidavit of assets and liabilities and other necessary paperwork.  The magistrate determines what issues the judge will decide.

About two to three months later, a pre-trial is held. The parties and their attorneys meet with the judge to determine if the case can be settled.  If it can, the matter may be finalized at that point.  If agreement cannot be reached, a trial will be scheduled.

At trial, the plaintiff presents his or her case, including grounds for the divorce, information about finances, property and the welfare of the children, if there are any.  The defendant may present evidence explaining his or her position and disputing the plaintiff.  Each side may give oral or written arguments to the court explaining what that party is requesting and why the request is reasonable and appropriate.  

What if a party is unhappy about a decision of the court?

If a party to the case believes the decision of a Magistrate is incorrect or unfair, the party or their attorney may file an objection within 14 days of the time-stamped date of the Magistrate’s  decision.  If a party is unhappy with a Magistrate’s Order, a Motion to Set Aside the Magistrate’s Order may be filed within 10 days of the time-stamp on the order.

If a party does not agree with the final decision of judge in a divorce case, an appeal can be filed with the Ninth District Court of Appeals.

“Remember the Children”

Summit County has a mandatory program for any parent seeking a divorce, dissolution or legal separation through the Domestic Relations Court.   It is a three-hour seminar designed to help families with children cope with the process of divorce.  It is held on the second floor of the Domestics Relations Court the first Wednesday and second Thursday of each month from 6 to 9 p.m. and the third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon. (Each parent must go to one complete session, not multiple sessions.)

Children are not permitted to attend the program and registration is taken at the door.  Contact the court at (330) 643-2355 for any further information about this program.

Legal expertise may be needed

When dealing with matters that could so profoundly affect your future and the future of your children, you want to make sure you have people by your side that are going to take the best interests of you and your family to heart.

At this difficult time, when you are getting a divorce, even if you don’t have minor children or any children,you may want to think seriously about consulting with a law firm that has experienced Summit County divorce attorneys who are familiar with such topics as spousal support, domestic violence and division of assets and know Ohio law on these matters.

Slater & Zurz LLP law firm is conveniently located in downtown Akron at Cascade Plaza and has several attorneys well-versed in the intricacies of getting a divorce in Summit County.  Call us at 1-888-760-8958 or send us a message from our website, dissolutionanddivorce.com.

You can also get more information and specific forms from the Summit County Domestic Relations Court’s website at http://www.drcourt.org.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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