No Trial for Divorce in Ohio?

Ohio does not allow for a jury trial in a dissolution of marriage case, and any divorce proceedings must go before the Court of Common Pleas in the county of jurisdiction. There are two ways to get a divorce in Ohio- Fault (Contested) and No-Fault (Uncontested). If you have gone before a Judge or Magistrate for a divorce, you have been in what divorce attorneys call a Contested case. Contested cases can be very nasty ordeals for all concerned, including the divorce lawyers.

Columbus, like so many cities in the state of Ohio, is located smack dab in the center of what many refer to as a “conservative” area of our nation. In a divorce, not only may you experience the humiliation of exposing the reasons for a failed marriage as public record, a stigma may often be attached to the participants who might endure a lifetime of shame for their failure to live up to societal expectations.

Whether Ohio society is right or wrong in the judgmental way some approach divorce, or whether or not your humiliation is self illusion, before entering a Contested marital divorce, you may want to ask yourself a couple of simple questions. First of all, is there any way for reconciliation between you and your spouse?

As of the last census, there are approximately 11 million people living in Ohio of which 82% of the population considers themselves Christian, and 75% of that group considers themselves to be Protestants. With strong similar values, work ethics, and community minded service of Ohio Christians, there should be no wonder at the possibility the legal system in the State has been influenced by this group when it comes to the marriage institution.

Ohioans value hard work and commitment, traits shared by the tenets of the Christian faith, but in 2009, the divorce rate for the State was near 4 per every 1000 people. The divorce rate has not seemed to change due to religious or non-religious affiliations. The important thing to note about these statistics is the fact most all Ohioans value hard work and commitment, two traits essential in making a marriage contract work. Therefore, since Ohioans across the board share these essentials in marital values, doesn’t it stand to reason that if at all possible, you should try to reconcile before acquiescing to divorce first?

If your answer to the first question is honestly “no,” that you cannot reconcile, then, you may want to ask yourself the second question, is there any way you can get out of a bad marriage without risking public humiliation? There are reasons some people should not stay married, the threat of imminent harm being chief amongst them, so, if you have come to the place where you have decided there is no other alternative to divorce, let this author suggest you first try a No-Fault or Uncontested Divorce.

The process can be as simple as filling out a Petition For Dissolution of Marriage and a Marital Settlement Agreement, legal documents easily obtained, and filing them with the proper Court having jurisdiction to hear the cause. Ohio permits No-Fault divorce when husband and wife have, without interruption for one year, lived separate and apart without cohabitation, and for incompatibility, unless denied by either party. Providing you and your spouse can amiably agree on the terms of the divorce about your finances, assets, and children, the process is relatively simple and inexpensive. So, doesn’t it stand to reason if you feel like you have to have a divorce, you should try and obtain a No-Fault divorce first?

There are many reasons two people who have been married a while may not be able to amiably and maturely come to terms involving finances, assets, and children. In the event this happens, and it often does, there exists a real possibility for a Contested divorce. When it does happen, you can present your case before a judge or a Magistrate. In either case, it may be wise to be legally represented.

In addition to the two legal reasons permitted by law for a No-Fault divorce, Ohio permits Fault divorce on these grounds: either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage from which the divorce is sought; willful absence of the adverse party for one year; adultery; extreme cruelty; fraudulent contract; any gross neglect of duty; habitual drunkenness; imprisonment of the adverse party in a state or federal correctional institution at the time of filing the complaint; and procurement of a divorce outside the state of Ohio, by a husband or wife, by virtue of which the party who procured it is released from the obligations of the marriage, while those obligations remain binding upon the other party Obviously, these issues are all value based, and one of the issues have to be stated in a Petition For Divorce as the reason the petitioner is wanting to end the marriage. Thus, to many, the potential for humiliation and shame comes through public exposure, because in Ohio, most court records are open to the public.

Regardless of the decision concerning divorce you may have to make, there are divorce lawyers in Ohio who understand divorce law, and are excellent in negotiating settlements that you can live with. So, if you are considering a divorce, let us help you find the divorce attorney in your area that is more than willing to help you make the legal decisions that are right for you.