Getting organized for your divorce or dissolution

In a lot of ways, legally ending your marriage comes down to money and time. Here's the kind of information you will need to pull together to prepare for what's ahead. 

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There are a few ways to legally end your marriage in Ohio, but they all share one thing in common: you will need to make sure your financial information is organized  so you can fill out detailed forms. 

That's because the court's job is to decide what's fair. The court deals in facts and not emotion. Your job is to be honest and provide as much useful information as possible. Otherwise, the court might make the wrong decision for you and your family. 

Providing complete and true financial information is important. If you and your spouse disagree about what should happen with your kids, property or money after your divorce, any mistake on your forms gives your spouse a chance to say that you may not be telling the truth on other things.

Here's the information you will need to fill out your forms.


Use pay stubs and tax returns to pull together information about your income for the past year. If you can, do the same for your spouse's income. 

Income includes: 

  • Overtime, commission and bonuses
  • Disability payments you or your spouse received
  • Social security payments you or your spouse received
  • Unemployment payments you or your spouse received
  • Spousal or child support you or your spouse received

You will need this information about income for the past three years.

Pull together all the paperwork you have about these payments. Make a copy and bring both the original and the copy to the hearing.


An asset is anything you own that has financial value.

Here are some examples of assets you might have:

  • Things you own, like furniture or your television
  • Bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks and bonds
  • Real estate or property that you or your spouse owns
  • Vehicles that you or your spouse owns

When you fill out forms to file for divorce or to file for dissolution, you will need to include the value of these assets. To do that, you'll need to know their "fair market value"—that is, how much you could sell it for now. Consider what you could sell it for at a yard sale, or check online to find prices for similar used items.

Try to find paperwork to show the "fair market value" of any asset that you have that's worth more than $500. For example, print out your bank statement or a page from eBay for a similar item.


A debt is money that you need to pay for something you already bought. For instance, consider:

  • Credit card debt
  • Money that you have to pay off to own your car or home
  • Payments that you are making on your TV

Pull and put aside the paperwork that shows how much still needs to be paid for each debt.


You will need to know what your and your family's monthly expenses are. To figure that out, gather receipts or bank statements showing how much it costs each month to pay for:

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Food and utilities
  • Transportation and car payments
  • Child care and health care
  • Insurance
  • Credit card payments
  • Anything else that you pay each month

Put aside the receipts and statements to bring to the hearing. You may not need them, but it's better to bring them in case you do.

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