February 15, 2023
Can I Get an Online Divorce in Ohio? – You Shouldn’t
Written by Erb Legal LLC
Getting a divorce can be time-consuming and expensive. Understandably, you want to do it as efficiently as possible.
While certain parts of the Ohio divorce process can be easier with online options, getting an online divorce is generally not a good idea. There are several downfalls. You’ll probably still need to go to court, and you won’t have an experienced divorce attorney to protect your interests.
Here’s more on online divorces in Ohio and what you can expect from a DIY filing.
Are Online Divorces Legal in Ohio?
It is possible to electronically file (“e-file”) certain divorce documents online in Ohio. However, you and your spouse need to physically appear in court for any divorce or dissolution in Ohio. Thus, you can get divorce paperwork online and submit some of it, but your divorce hearing will be in person.
Even if you e-file, you should have an experienced divorce lawyer review your documents before you submit them. Most attorneys will review electronic documents, often in PDF or Word format. If you don’t have a lawyer look at your divorce before filing it, you may miss important elements and delay the process.
Online Divorce Forms
The Supreme Court of Ohio provides many domestic relations forms, including divorce documents that can be completed on a computer. Some typical documents you will need for your Ohio divorce include:
- Complaint for Divorce without Children
- Complaint for Divorce with Children
- Parenting Proceeding Affidavit
- Affidavit of Basic Information, Income, and Expenses
- Affidavit of Property and Debt
- Health Insurance Affidavit
- Request for Service
- Answer to Complaint for Divorce with Children
- Separation Agreement
- Shared Parenting Plan
- Parenting Plan
- Parenting Time Schedule
You will also need to provide the court with a Judgment Entry form.
While these documents are available online and can be submitted online, you may miss important parts of the documents by completing them alone. For example, you could give up your right to parenting time, assets, and debt relief.
The Online Divorce Filing Process
You can file several divorce documents online through your county clerk’s website. You will probably need to sign up for an account and upload the documents through their online system. If you miss anything, it may delay your divorce.
How Long Do Online Divorces Take?
You can file an online divorce any time your county’s portal is available. However, your divorce will take the same time as any other one. Online divorces are not faster or slower than when documents are physically filed at the courthouse.
You can keep track of your documents and access them anytime when you have an online account. This can be beneficial if you lose an important document.
Online Divorce Vs. Online Dissolution
A divorce is a termination of a marriage where there are issues that need to be resolved by the court. While you and your spouse may ultimately agree, a divorce is generally started because issues are being contested.
A dissolution terminates a marriage, but there are no contested issues. The partners must sign a separation agreement establishing the outcome of all assets, debt, and other issues. The court will review the separation agreement, but they nearly always sign off on it.
You Can’t Do Everything in an Online Divorce?
There are numerous limitations to filing for divorce online in Ohio.
First, you can’t serve divorce papers online. You must serve your spouse with the complaint, summons, and other documents in person or via another approved method. Each county establishes procedures by which service of divorce documents is appropriate. Online service for a divorce complaint is not available.
You also must appear in court at the final hearing. You will have to provide testimony and answer questions before a judge. This cannot be done online.
When Does an Online Divorce Make Sense?
The only time an online divorce should be considered is when there are no contested issues. An uncontested divorce or dissolution may occur primarily online. However, remember that you will still have to serve documents appropriately and appear at an in-person hearing.
When You Shouldn’t Do an Online Divorce
Handling all your divorce issues online is generally not a good idea. The online companies that advertise ‘fast and easy’ online divorces often lack the knowledge and skills to handle:
- Child custody matters
- High asset divorces
- Complex property division
- Contested issues
These issues all need the help of a divorce lawyer who can protect your rights and ensure you get the best outcome possible.
The Problems with Online Divorces in Ohio
Online divorce companies seem like the cheapest way to have a do-it-yourself divorce without anyone’s help. However, they do not guarantee speed and efficiency. These divorces can often become complicated without the use of a divorce attorney.
Some problems with online divorce services in Ohio include the following:
- Ignorance of rights can lead to an unfair outcome
- There is no guarantee of completing all the documents correctly
- One mistake in a form and the court will not accept the documents
- It may be delayed for the reasons mentioned above
- Requires additional financial costs if it becomes a contested divorce.
Consult a Lawyer Before Filing for Divorce Online
A divorce lawyer can help you with unexpected issues that may come up in your divorce. There will always be nuances that an experienced attorney will understand and help with. They will look out for your interests and ensure you get what you deserve.
A divorce attorney is an investment that you put into yourself. You are ending a marriage and separating property that is intertwined with emotions. A lawyer will help you move past the minor issues and move forward with confidence that your divorce is done right.
Erb Legal Is Here to Help
An online divorce in Ohio is not very practical or efficient. In the long run, you may miss essential issues and end up with unnecessary stress. You may end up in court anyway if your divorce involves property and assets to divide and children to consider. In Medina, Summit, and Portage County, Ohio, let an experienced divorce lawyer at Erb Legal protect your interests, ensure things are filed correctly, and help avoid delays.
Call us today at (330) 869-9007 or schedule a consultation online.