How to File for Divorce in Dayton, Ohio

By Editorial Team

Updated July 21, 2017

man and woman divorced image by Ivonne Wierink from

Dayton, Ohio offers many divorce attorneys to help with your case. Knowing the steps to divorce in Dayton, Ohio can help the case go as quickly as possible with little aggravation. Being prepared is the best way to go when divorcing in Dayton, Ohio.

Make sure that both parties meet all filing requirements before filing for divorce. The plaintiff and defendant must be residents of Ohio, and should have been for at least six months immediately before filing. The plaintiff and defendant must be residents of Montgomery County for at least 90 days.

Determine the grounds for divorce. In Ohio, there are specific grounds in which divorce may be sought. This includes either party entering into a bigamous marriage, absence of the defendant for one year, adultery, cruelty, fraudulent contract, gross neglect of duty, alcoholism, imprisonment in a state or federal prison when the plaintiff files for divorce, procurement of a divorce outside of Ohio, when parties have lived separately without interruption for one year and incompatibility (unless denied by either party).

Decide if you need a divorce, an annulment or dissolution. A divorce is needed when the two parties cannot or will not agree to terms regarding the property and/or child custody separation. For instance, if either party feels that they deserve alimony but the other party refuses, you will have to go to court and pursue a divorce. An annulment is available if you can prove that two parties should have never been able to have been validly married (the most common example is getting married while drunk). In Dayton and the rest of Ohio, dissolution is a third option. If both parties have worked out their own way of dividing assets, property and child custody and they can agree on it all, dissolution is the easy way to get divorced requiring less fees, time and aggravation.

Assemble all documents relevant to the case. This includes real estate information including deeds and appraisals, personal property appraisals, profit-sharing plans, federal, state and local tax returns from the past three years, proof of income from all sources including commissions, bonuses and overtime, bank account statements, IRA statements, stock accounts, mortgages, credit card accounts, refinancing documents, prenuptial agreements, credit card reports, bankruptcy filings and anything else relevant to the case. For custody changes, child support or spousal support, documents needed include proof of income, affidavit of financial disclosure, mental health professionals seen by either party or children, school records and disciplinary action (if any), journals relating to parenting events or disputes, police or governmental records citing involvement with the parties or children and all living expenses.

Hire a divorce attorney if desired. Divorce attorneys can be found all over Dayton, Ohio.

File an "Original Petition for Divorce" or a "Letter of Complaint" with the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts located at 301 West 3rd Street in downtown Dayton, Ohio. As of May 2010, filing costs for divorce are $400 for new cases with children and $300 for new cases without children. For annulment, dissolution and legal separation, filing costs are $325 with children and $225 without children. Affidavit of income, property statements and other court demanded forms must be attached to the Letter of Complaint. If minor children are involved, a temporary allocation of parental rights and responsibilities and child support orders must be attached as well.

Attend the Scheduling Conference if requested to attend. After filing the complaint and after the complaint has been served to both parties, the hearing will be planned. If you are required to attend, you will be contacted.

Attend all hearings as scheduled (if you are asked to attend). Additional hearings include property trials, custody trials, pretrials, hearings on spousal support, child support hearings and hearings on motions.

Visit the courts for the Merits Hearing. The Merits Hearing is the final hearing and lasts for about three to five minutes when held on its own. Often, the Merits Hearing is held as a part of the Property Trial hearing. The plaintiff must attend this hearing and a witness must be present with the plaintiff at this hearing.


All divorces in Ohio are absolute.

Divorces will not be granted unless the plaintiff proves one of the grounds of divorce. Some grounds for divorce are also grounds for an annulment.

If the defendant does not show up to contest the divorce, the court must still try to find other forms of evidence in order to determine whether or not divorce is justified. If the grounds for divorce have been established based on evidence, he will be granted a decree, despite the defendant being a no-show.