Ohio Divorce Definitions

This collection of definitions will help clarify some unique characteristics to the Ohio Divorce laws, process and paperwork which is filed with the court.

Filing Party Title:
Petitioner or Plaintiff

The spouse who will initiate the Divorce by filing the required paperwork with the court.

Non-Filing Party Title:
Respondent or Defendant

The spouse who does not initiate the Divorce with the court.

Court Name:
In the Court of Common Pleas of ___________ County, Ohio

The proper name of the court in which a Divorce is filed in the state of Ohio. Each jurisdictional court typically has a domestic relations or a family law department or division.

Child Support Enforcement Website:

The state run office devoted to enforcing existing child support orders and collecting any past due child support.

Document Introduction:
In Re the Marriage of:

The lead-in verbiage used in the legal caption or header of the documents filed with the court. The introduction typically prefaces both spouse’s names.

Initial Divorce Document:
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Complaint for Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will initiate the Ohio Divorce process. The filing spouse is also required to provide the non-filing spouse a copy of this document.

Final Divorce Document:
Decree of Dissolution of Marriage or Decree of Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will finalize the Ohio Divorce process. This document will be signed by the judge, master, or referee of the court to declare your marriage officially terminated.

Clerk’s Office Name:
County Clerk’s Office of the Court of Common Pleas

The office of the clerk that will facilitate the Divorce process. This is the title you would address letters to or ask for when contacting the courthouse.

Legal Separation:

Legal separation may be sought for the following grounds: (1) adultery; (2) imprisonment; (3) willful desertion for 1 year; (4) cruel and inhuman treatment; (5) bigamy; (6) habitual intemperance (drunkenness); (7) when a final divorce decree has been obtained outside of the state of Ohio that does not release the other spouse from the obligations of the marriage inside the state of Ohio; (8) fraud; (9) neglect; (10) incompatibility; or (11) living separate and apart without cohabitation and without interruption for 1 year. [Ohio Revised Code Annotated; Sections 3105.01 and 3105.17].

Property Distribution:
Equitable Distribution

The applicable Ohio law that will dictate how property and debt is to be divided upon Divorce.