Family Law in Ohio

The law in Ohio provides three ways for a husband and wife to end or alter their marital relationship: Legal Separation, Divorce, and Dissolution of Marriage. The following paragraphs will give you an overview of the rules regarding these legal actions and other family law matters in Ohio.


This is a civil lawsuit which does not legally end a marriage, but allows the court to issue orders concerning division of property, spousal support, allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, and child support. The parties remain married but live separately.


Divorce is a civil lawsuit to end a marriage. The court requires that one party be a resident of Ohio for at least six months before filing in Ohio. The court will issue orders concerning the division of property, spousal support, child support, and custody of children.


A dissolution of marriage is a legal action where the parties mutually agree to terminate their marriage. The courts require that one party be a resident of Ohio for at least six months before filing. This action is only commenced after the husband and wife have fully agreed in a Separation Agreement to a settlement of all property, spousal support, and child issues, where applicable.


The court makes a determination as to what is or is not marital property. Marital property is property (real, personal, or intangible) acquired during the marriage, including increases in the value of separate property under certain circumstances. Generally, marital property is to be divided equally, unless the court decides that it is not fair or proper to do so.


Spousal support is awarded to assist in the support of a spouse after a property division has been awarded. Some of the factors considered by the court are the length of the marriage, the ages of the parties, the earning ability of the parties, the health of the parties, and sometimes the standard of living during the marriage.


Ohio law mandates what the amount of child support will be. The combined gross income of the parties is calculated and adjusted according to the worksheets specified by statute. The court then refers to the mandatory basic support schedules to determine the amount of support. This amount is presumed to be appropriate, but the court has discretion, in certain circumstances listed in the statute, to deviate from the basic support tables where it would be inequitable to apply the basic support.


Temporary orders are orders that the court issues to be effective during the time the case is pending before the final decision of the court. The court will issue temporary orders for things such as the use of the marital residence, spousal support, insurance, payment of bills, and the use of assets and bank accounts.
Restraining orders are orders that restrict or prohibit one or both spouses, or others, from certain behavior and activity.

DISCLAIMER: This information is only meant to give an overview of a few of the common events that may pertain to some cases, not as a self-help guide. Legal actions are complex matters best handled by a professional. If you have specific questions, please consult with me or another qualified attorney.