What is Legal Separation and How do you File for Legal Separation in Ohio?

Things to Know Before Filing for Legal Separation in Ohio

When it comes to the term "separation," it is sometimes unclear whether it refers to formal or informal separations. While there are informal separations in Ohio, if the parties separate legally, it must be recognized by the state.

There are three primary ways to end a marriage in Ohio: dissolution, annulment, and divorce. A legal separation does not terminate the marriage, so neither party can remarry.

What Does Legal Separation Mean in Ohio?

A legal separation does not dissolve a marriage but addresses many of the same issues as a dissolution or divorce. These include child support, spousal support, custody, parenting time, and more. When either party decides to divorce, the terms of the separation agreement usually serve as the foundation for determining the divorce terms.

A legal separation is not required to get a divorce or dissolution of marriage. One spouse may respond with a divorce counterclaim if the other requests a legal separation.

A legal separation requires determining property rights. Therefore, if the separation is granted, and the partner acquires property, it is not subject to division at a later divorce. However, both parties must wait 90 days after filing for the separation to be effective. Before filing for legal separation, the petitioner must be a resident of Ohio for at least six months.

What Is the Cost of Filing for Legal Separation in Ohio?

Legal separation requires filing fees, which vary depending on the county the petitioner resides in. Hiring a lawyer to separate from your spouse is not necessary. However, the court may require both spouses to work with a lawyer if children are involved. This will enable the fairest determination of child support and custody.

What Is the Minimum Separation Period in Ohio for Divorce?

To get a legal separation, both spouses must have lived separately for at least a year before they file the petition. Otherwise, a petitioner may sue their spouse using any of the ten grounds for divorce set forth by Ohio divorce law. The best thing many people can do is to seek legal advice. This can help them decide whether dissolving the marriage is better for them. The court judges cannot offer advice.

What Are the Steps to Filing a Legal Separation?

The first step in the legal separation process is determining if there are grounds for the separation. This may be the case if there has been adultery, extreme cruelty, habitual drunkenness, or other issues. There may be property issues, children, or other matters to deal with. The case will determine the orders for separation.

To begin the process, either party should go to their county's Court of Common Pleas. Or, if you have questions before beginning the process, it is best to consult with an attorney. During the separation process, couples must deal with the issues of custody, support, and more. Considering the responsibilities and living conditions of the other party is imperative. Both spouses may be required to go to court at the right time to finalize all agreements. A judge must grant a divorce if the marriage is to be terminated.