What if the Other Person Will Sign Papers but Not Show Up in Divorce Court in Ohio?

By Heather Frances J.D.

Ohio offers several options for divorcing spouses, depending on their level of agreement and how involved both spouses will be in the divorce process. The simplest process, dissolution, is only available if both spouses agree to terminate their marriage and both attend a hearing. In contrast, an uncontested divorce involves agreement between the parties, but attendance at a hearing is not necessarily required.

Filing for Dissolution

In Ohio, dissolution requires spouses to file a petition to terminate their marriage together, or jointly. It is not necessary to have grounds for dissolution since the spouses actually agree that they want their marriage to end. With a dissolution, it is common for spouses to have one attorney draft their documents. However, a couple cannot use dissolution if they cannot resolve all the terms of the divorce by agreement. For example, if they agree about everything except child custody, they cannot file for a dissolution.

Appearance Required

Dissolution requires both spouses to appear in court for a brief hearing regarding the dissolution paperwork. If one spouse is unable or unwilling to appear in court, the spouses cannot use dissolution -- even if they both agree on all terms of the divorce and sign a separation agreement listing those terms. Under certain circumstances and in some counties, a retired judge might conduct the final hearing privately in an attorney’s office instead of the courthouse, but both spouses still must attend. If either spouse will not appear in court, they must go through the divorce process.

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Uncontested Divorce

If spouses can agree to the terms of their divorce but one doesn’t want to appear in court, they can proceed with an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce terminates their marriage when the court finds grounds for divorce exist. Ohio has two no-fault grounds, which spouses can use as the basis for their divorce: incompatibility or living separately for more than one year. Ohio also has several fault-based grounds available, but fault grounds require the filing spouse to prove the grounds exist should the other spouse dispute them. However, in an uncontested divorce, the spouses must agree on all terms of the divorce, including the grounds.

Uncontested Divorce Process

Either spouse can initiate an uncontested divorce by filing a complaint for divorce in the appropriate Ohio court. However, prior to the filing of the complaint for divorce, the parties make a full financial disclosure to each other -- and voluntarily enter into a separation agreement that resolves all relevant issues, such as the division of all marital property, spousal support and custody if there are children involved. The non-filing spouse signs a waiver of service and agrees that the court should grant the divorce on the terms of the separation agreement. Then, the court schedules a hearing, but the non-filing spouse does not have to appear at this hearing. Only the filing spouse and a corroborating witness must appear in court to satisfy the court that there are sufficient grounds for the divorce -- and the terms of the settlement agreement are fair and equitable.

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Ohio No-Fault Divorce Requirements


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Is a Court Appearance Necessary for a Divorce Online in North Carolina?

As long as you live separately from your spouse for a year and are a resident of North Carolina for six months prior to the filing a divorce action, you can obtain an absolute divorce in the state. During your separation period, you generally work out the terms of your divorce, including property division, custody and support with your spouse. If you cannot reach an agreement regarding these terms, you will have to go to trial. However, if you and your spouse do reach an agreement, once the 12-month separation period ends, you can file for your absolute divorce online or use a legal online document provider to prepare and file your paperwork. Whether or not you have to appear in court for a hearing depends on the county in which you file.

What Do I Do After I File a Notice of Hearing for My Divorce in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, an uncontested divorce is available even if you have yet to sort out financial, custody and other issues. The judge terminates the marriage and sets future hearings to deal with these other issues. You must live separately from your spouse for one year before filing for divorce and either you or your spouse must be a North Carolina resident for at least six months before starting a divorce.

What If He Refuses to Sign the Divorce in Oklahoma?

The simple answer to the question is: Yes, you can get a divorce even if your spouse refuses to sign any documents. This is because it is not necessary for a spouse to sign divorce papers in Oklahoma. All the necessary steps for a divorce can occur without the non-filing spouse’s signature. A divorce can be an emotional and adversarial process, oftentimes to the detriment of all parties involved. Many divorces would reach a stalemate were both spouses’ signatures necessary to complete the divorce.

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