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How to Answer a Divorce Complaint in Ohio

Someone has got to be the first to file for divorce.  If you've received a big envelope from your county court of common pleas with a summons and divorce complaint, then that means your current spouse was the one to file first and you've got to file what is called an "answer" to the divorce complaint.  Probably the most difficult aspect of the process of filing a complaint for divorce in Ohio or filing an answer to a divorce complaint is filling out all of the affidavits that have to be filed along with the divorce complaint or answer.

Filling Out Affidavits To Go With The Divorce Complaint or Answer

Every county in Ohio has slightly different requirements for what affidavits have to be filed with a divorce complaint or answer.  The number of affidavits also depends on whether or not there are minor children of the marriage.  In Franklin County, Ohio, in order to file a divorce complaint or answer for a marriage when there are no minor children born of the marriage, then each spouse has to fill out and file an Affidavit of Property and Affidavit of Income and Expenses.  If there are minor children of the marriage, then in order to get a divorce in Columbus, Ohio, you also need to fill out a Health Insurance Affidavit and a Parenting Proceeding Affidavit.  

In order to obtain a divorce in Delaware County, Ohio, you need to fill out all the same affidavits as in Franklin County, plus a few more.  If there are no minor children to the marriage, then you also have to fill out a supplemental affidavit that basically lists your education level and job experience.  If you have minor children to the marriage, then you have to fill out all of the above affidavits plus a supplemental parenting proceeding affidavit.

All of the affidavits required to get a divorce in Ohio can be found on the Supreme Court of Ohio website here.  For Delaware County, all of the affidavits can be found here.  Ohio also requires divorcing parents of minor children to take a parenting class before the divorce can be finalized.  Each county may have their own parenting class program.

Mutual Restraining Orders and Motion for Temporary Orders

There are a few other documents that are often filed at the time of the divorce complaint or answer.  These are a motion for mutual restraining orders and motion for temporary orders.  A mutual restraining order is basically a court order that puts a freeze on each party's ability to move around their bank accounts or other assets.  It can be useful to prevent any financial wrongdoing while the divorce case is ongoing.  

A temporary order is a court order that can cover a range of things like child support, spousal support, and child visitation while the divorce case is going on.  Temporary Orders are just temporary court orders that the Judge puts in place while the divorce case is ongoing.  Whenever the Judge decides on the main issues of the case, or when the parties to the divorce reach an agreement, then the final court order replaces the temporary order.

The Answer and Counter-Claims Of a Divorce Complaint in Ohio

In general, in any legal proceeding, when you file an answer you've got to respond to each allegation made in the Complaint.  Each allegation is usually divided into a separate paragraph.

In Ohio, there are various different legal grounds to obtain a divorce.  It may surprise someone receiving a divorce complaint to see listed things like adultery, extreme cruetly, gross neglect of duty, or that the parties have lived separate and apart for at least one year.  Whatever specific case of action that is listed as the ground for divorce is ultimately not important.  All that is needed to obtain a divorce in Ohio is that the parties agree that they are "incompatible."  However, usually more than one ground for divorce is listed as a safety measure of listing possible alternative grounds for the divorce in case one of the grounds is too difficult to prove at trial.  

It is usually a good idea for the recipient of a divorce complaint to file their own counter-claim along with the answer requesting a divorce.  This ensures that  divorce can still be obtained if there end up being problems with the filer of the divorce complaint and their case.

Central Ohio Divorce Attorneys

A divorce can be complicated, or it can be relatively simple.  It all depends on the actual people involved, how much stuff and how much debt they have, and how willing or unwilling those people are to make an agreement.  The only reason you should ever go it alone in a divorce without an attorney is if you are not able to afford an attorney and you have no one to help you with the expense.  But even then, you should reach out to the Legal Aid Society of Columbus to see if your income level qualifies you for free legal assistance.  For everyone with the financial ability to do so, they should hire a local divorce attorney.  You are simply going to get a better resolution to your divorce with a lawyer.  If you need a divorce attorney and live in the Central Ohio area, then call the law firm of Harris & Engler.  The divorce attorneys at Harris & Engler have offices in Columbus, Ohio, nearby to Delaware, Ohio, and they help with divorces all over Central Ohio.