Residency Rules for Filing for Divorce in Ohio

By Beverly Bird

Most states do not allow you to move into their jurisdiction, unpack your bags and immediately file for divorce. There's a good reason for this – "friendly" divorce states would be inundated with spouses flocking there to file, maybe to the point where their court dockets would bog down to a crawl. Most states try to find a middle ground between prohibitive residency rules and no requirements at all, including Ohio.

State and County Residency

Ohio's residency requirement is six months. You must live in the state this long before you can file for divorce, and the six months must be those that lead up to your filing. You must live in the county where you file for a minimum of 90 days. One exception exists: If your spouse has met residency requirements in the state, you can file in Ohio even if you live elsewhere.

Jurisdictional Issues

Even if you meet Ohio's residency requirements, the court may not be able to do much more than grant you a divorce. If your spouse never lived in the state with you, this can limit jurisdiction over him, and the court may not be able to rule on things like asset division or alimony. This is particularly true if the two of you own property in the state where your spouse is currently living, such as if you were married there and moved to Ohio when you broke up. Ohio may not be able to rule on custody unless your children have also resided in the state for six months.

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Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act in Virginia


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Divorce & Jurisdiction

State laws vary when it comes to obtaining a divorce, so it may be tempting to file for divorce in the state with the procedures most friendly to your case. But a court must have proper jurisdiction to address the cases before it, so not every court has authority to grant you a divorce and rule on the issues involved. Generally, you must file in the state where you or your spouse meets residency requirements.

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