Our firm handles all aspects of family law and divorce and Portage and Summit County Domestic Relations Courts.

Ohio Law and Ground for Divorce

A complaint for divorce may become necessary when the husband and wife cannot agree on a divorce, or cannot accomplish a dissolution because the spouses cannot agree on how to handle property division, and spousal supporrt.

A divorce can be either contested or uncontested, which are explained below.

A Domestic Relations court may grant a spouse a divorce for the following reasons:

  1. Either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage from which the divorce is sought;
  2. Willful absence of the adverse party for one year;
  3. Adultery;
  4. Extreme cruelty;
  5. Fraudulent contract;
  6. Any gross neglect of duty;
  7. Habitual drunkenness;
  8. Imprisonment of the adverse party in a state or federal correctional institution at the time of filing the complaint;
  9. Procurement of a divorce outside this state, by a husband or wife, by virtue of which the party who procured it is released from the obligations of the marriage, while those obligations remain binding upon the other party;
  10. On the application of either party, when husband and wife have, without interruption for one year, lived separate and apart without cohabitation;
  11. Incompatibility, unless denied by either party.

What Happens When a Divorce Complaint is Filed?

When a divorce complaint is filed in Portage County or Summit County Domestic Relations Court, the court will normally place mutual restraining orders into effect until the divorce is finalized.

Both spouses in the divorce case are restrained from:

  • Selling, transferring or destroying assets;
  • Threatening, abusing or interfering with the other spouse;
  • Incurring further credit;
  • Changing insurance coverage;
  • Removing any children of the marriage from the county (Portage or Summit) where the divorce is filed.

Either spouse may ask the Domestic Relations court for a Temporary Hearing, which is typically held in front of a Magistrate, who makes orders concerning such issues as parental rights, responsibilities and support.

The court may order one spouse to move out of the marital residence. Temporary Orders will generally remain in effect until the divorce case ends or the Domestic Relations court modifies the terms of the Temporary Orders.

Divorce Court Proceedings in Portage and Summit County Cases

The spouse filing the complaint for divorce is deemed the Plaintiff and must have resided in the State of Ohio for at least six months prior to the filing of the complaint for divorce with the court. They would also need to be a resident of Portage or Summit County for 90 days before filing the divorce complaint in the appropriate county Domestic Relations court.

The person being sued for divorce is called the Defendant, and has 28 days after being served with a copy of the divorce complaint to file his or her Answer if that spouse wants to contest the divorce. If the Defendant wants the divorce to be awarded to him or her, then that spouse may choose to file a Counterclaim with his or her Answer.

If the Defendant does not file an Answer after being served with the complaint for divorce, the Domestic Relations court will schedule the case for an uncontested trial, at which the person filing the divorce complaint (Plaintiff) must appear, with one or more witnesses, to testify about the grounds for divorce, the value of marital assets, debts and spousal support.

If the Defendant does file an Answer after being served with the complaint for divorce, the case is deemed contested, and the Domestic Relations court will schedule one or more hearings (pre-trials) to determine which issues cannot be resolved and what action should be taken in the interim time period. Eventually a trial will be scheduled to address issues that cannot be settled in the divorce action.

How to File for Divorce in Summit County and Portage County, OH

Our divorce Lawyers, Attorneys Kristen Curtis Cand Eli Heller, handle all issues relating to Domestic Relations and Child Custody. You can contact them at 330-296-8000 (Ravenna Office) and 330-686-2890 (Stow Office) for a free consultation. No obligation.


The ohiocrimelawyer.com website is designed for general information only. Any information on this site is not to be construed as formal legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer, a DUI lawyer, a family law lawyer or wills, probate, trusts and estate planning lawyer, nor formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Persons accessing this site are encouraged to seek personal advice regarding their individual legal issues.

The attorneys in our law firm primarily service Portage County courts (Ravenna and Kent), and Summit County courts (Akron, Stow, Barberton). Cases in all other courts in North East Ohio, including Cuyahoga County courts (Cleveland, Garfield Heights, Bedford, Parma, Rocky River etc...) are handled under specific terms and conditions.