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Where to File for a Divorce in Cleveland

By Jim Robenalt

Where Do I Go to File for a Divorce in Cleveland, Ohio?

Divorce isn’t just a breakup. The divorce rate in Ohio is 7.2 for every 1,000 women, meaning that Ohio has thousands of new divorces yearly. 

Every Cleveland divorce is painful and exhausting. But you can get through it. To do so, you must study the necessary steps to secure 

a divorce and determine what is required.

Where can you file for divorce in Cleveland? What grounds do you have to meet before you get a Cleveland, Ohio, divorce? How many hearings do you have to attend? 

Answer these questions, and you can get a clean split from your spouse in less time than you think. Here is your comprehensive guide.

Meet the Grounds for a Divorce

The person who files for a divorce must be a state resident for six months before filing the complaint. The person must also have lived in the country where they file the complaint for at least 90 days.

However, if you and your spouse live in separate counties, you can choose either county to file in. Each county sets its court fees, so you can pick the county that costs less. 

If one spouse is pregnant, you cannot finalize your divorce until your baby is born. You can file for a divorce if you already have children. 

Section 3105.01 of the Ohio Revised Code describes divorce causes. To get a divorce, you must qualify for one or more of these causes, including adultery, abandonment, abuse, and incompatibility. 

Consider Your Options

Ohio provides two options for you to end your marriage. A divorce occurs when you and your spouse disagree on the terms of your separation, and one of you may dispute the grounds for the divorce or contest how much property you should receive. 

You can get a dissolution of your marriage if you and your spouse agree on ending your marriage. Dissolutions can occur within 90 days of filing, though both must file a petition for dissolution and a separation agreement describing how you will divide your marital property. 

You can also get a legal separation. A separation does not end your marriage but allows you to file documents describing how you will not live together.

If you are in a religion or culture that advocates against divorce, you should opt for a legal separation. It lets you divide property and handle child custody without formally ending your marriage. However, if you want to get married to someone else, you will need to get a divorce. 

An annulment is only for marriages that were never legally binding. One party may have been under the legal age to get married or have committed fraud to get the person to marry them.

Mediate With Your Spouse

You can start filing for divorce in Cleveland without talking to your spouse. However, it is often a good idea to try mediation or negotiation, and you may be able to agree on terms and create a smooth separation for yourself. 

You can arrange a time to meet with your spouse and discuss with them. You can bring a third party, such as a lawyer if you’d like. Take notes on the agreements you make and what you disagree on. 

If you have substantial disagreements, you can consider mediation. The mediation process involves sitting down with a mediator and discussing issues like who will get the family home or spousal support. 

The mediator will not force you to agree; they may ask you questions and encourage you to empathize with your spouse. But they will let the two of you talk and figure out a solution you agree with. 

You can have in-person sessions or sessions over Zoom. You can schedule them whenever you want; most sessions last two to three hours. Read a guide on how to prepare for mediation, so you make the most of each session. 

File for a Cleveland Divorce

If you are filing for divorce in Cleveland, you should go to the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court. Visit its website and find the documents for the termination of your marriage. Documents for divorces with children differ from those without children, so make sure you select the right ones.

The court provides packets of documents that you can file by yourself. However, you may want to talk to a lawyer to get your information right. 

You may need to file additional documents. You need to file a parenting proceeding affidavit, a health insurance statement and a child support administrative order for a divorce with children. If one of you is in the military, you must file an affidavit of military service. 

You can file these documents online or mail them to the courthouse. You or someone you hire can also drop them off in person.

When you file for divorce in Ohio, you must pay filing fees. You must fill out a poverty affidavit if you don’t have the money. 

Serve Documents to Your Spouse

However you file your documents, you need to serve them to your spouse, and you must tell the court how you intend to do the papers.

Most people use certified mail. You should keep the return receipt and let the court know if the papers have been delivered. 

You can also ask the county sheriff to deliver your documents. This requires a fee, but it lets your local police department know about your divorce and gives you protection from an abusive spouse. 

You can order service by publication if you don’t know your spouse’s address. The court will publish the documents in an advertisement, usually in a newspaper. This last resort can expose your personal details, so you should spend time trying to get your spouse’s address.

Your spouse has an opportunity to respond to your petition. They may say they agree or disagree with any of the terms in your petition. 

Prepare for Legal Hearings

After your spouse has received their documents, the court may ask you to go to a pre-trial hearing. A judge will examine the terms of your divorce and ask questions about your finances. You can tell the judge what you and your spouse agree on and what you need to work out.

If you and your spouse agree on all terms and your judge thinks they are fair, they can finalize the divorce immediately. But if you have disagreements, your judge may ask for another hearing to work out those disagreements. 

It is helpful to consider why a judge should rule in your favor. This preparation is important, especially if you have not yet hired an attorney. If you have hired an attorney, work with them to

find witnesses and gather documents in support of your case.. 

You may need multiple hearings in order to work out your disagreements. You must follow all orders from your judge, though you can appeal. 

Talk with a judge about scheduling these hearings for an appropriate time. Judges understand that legal hearings can be stressful, so they can adjust them to make you as comfortable as possible. After you attend a hearing, spend some time on divorce self-care tips.

Consider Temporary Orders

While preparing for your hearings, you can file temporary orders with the court. You can file an order for spousal support, child support, or custody. This lets you receive the resources you need to take care of yourself while being separated from your spouse. 

You should prepare a temporary order with legal assistance. To get spousal or child support, you must provide your financial information and explain why you need the money. 

The court may schedule a hearing to examine the temporary order. Your spouse may contest it or request edits to it. 

If you are worried about your or your child’s safety, you can file a restraining or no-contact order. File an ex parte protection order if you need immediate protection. You can also file a restraining order to prevent your spouse from selling marital property or withdrawing money from a joint account. 

Most judges file mutual restraining orders once they receive a divorce petition. This means that you and your spouse are prohibited from taking marital property for yourself or disparaging your spouse. See if a mutual order is in effect before filing your order.

Start Your Cleveland Divorce

Filing for a Cleveland divorce means figuring out more than where to file for divorce in Cleveland. You need to check the laws and see if you meet the legal requirements, and then you need to prepare documents with Cuyahoga County. 

It would be best if you considered mediation with your spouse to work out your terms. You will need to participate in a few court hearings if you can’t. Talk to a lawyer about your options and see what temporary documents you can file.

Start the process with a good mediator. Next Page Mediation serves the Cleveland and Ohio area. Contact us today.

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