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Legal requirements mandated for a divorce complaint

A complaint for divorce or legal separation must be filed through a court of common pleas in Ohio. Either spouse can file this complaint and then the other spouse can file a counterclaim once he or she receives the original complaint.

The court of common pleas can grant a divorce or legal separation based on enumerated causes in the Ohio Family Code. These causes include if either spouse is legally married to another individual who is alive at the time the complaint is filed, if one of the spouses has committed adultery, if the marriage was entered into in a fraudulent manner or if one of the spouses has been extremely cruel to the other. Other reasons include if one of the spouses has been grossly negligent in his or her marital duties, the habitual drunkenness of one of the spouses or if one of the spouses has been imprisoned at the time of the complaint. Incompatibility is also a reason that a court can rely on when granting a divorce or legal separation.

The court can grant legal separation even if the parties have not been living separately for the above reasons. The court can also grant a divorce or legal separation when one of the spouses has willfully been absent from the marriage for at least a year or when the spouses have lived separately without any cohabitation for at least one year. Even if one of the spouses has already filed a complaint for divorce, the other spouse can still file a complaint for a divorce or an annulment.

Individuals who are interested in pursuing a divorce or legal separation may not be aware of the various legal requirements for creating such a complaint. A family law attorney may be able to draft legal pleadings to get the case started.

Source: Ohio Laws and Rules, "Chapter 3105: DIVORCE, ALIMONY, ANNULMENT, DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE", October 28, 2014

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