Getting a divorce with children

To get a divorce, you will need to fill out a number of court forms and file them with your Clerk of Court. This process is even more complicated when you have children. This page will help you understand what to fill out, what you should think through and provide the paperwork you will need to file.

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Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

Filing for divorce involves a lot of paperwork. The whole divorce process takes at least four months and up to two years when there are children involved. This page will help you file the forms you need to get the process started. Learn more about the process for a divorce in Ohio.  

However, divorce isn’t the only way to end your marriage. If you feel that you and your spouse are able to agree on everything, including everything about raising your children and how to divide money and debt, think about the pros and cons of a dissolution.

If you’re in an abusive relationship, you should think through the best way to keep yourself safe while filing. Find a lawyer to help you. You may even qualify for legal aid. Learn more about divorce and domestic violence and how to keep you and your children safe.  

Who can file for divorce in Ohio?

To file, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You or your spouse must have lived in Ohio for at least six months, and in the county where you’re filing for at least 90 days. Learn more about deciding what county to file in. This can be particularly important when you have children.
  • If you or your spouse are pregnant, getting a divorce is more complicated. You can start the filing process, but you won't be able to finalize your divorce while you are pregnant. 

Think through what you need

Before you file, you need to gather information and make some decisions. 

Filling out and filing the paperwork

On this site, you'll find a Divorce with Children Form Assistant that will help create a packet of the blank forms you need. It will ask you some questions, which you can answer on any phone or computer. You will need to be able to email the blank forms to yourself, or save them to a computer. The blank forms can only be filled out on a computer. They can take several hours to complete. 

Once your forms are complete, do not sign them yet. Take them to a notary and sign the forms in front of them. Make copies of the notarized forms and take them to the Clerk of Court. Ask the clerk to file the forms. The clerk may help you ensure your paperwork is complete, if you ask politely and they have time. They will not be able to help you with the information in the forms. 

If you have a low income and can’t afford the filing fee, you can use the Poverty Affidavit Form Assistant to create an additional form to file with your packet of documents. This form asks that you be allowed to file without paying a fee upfront. You may still be responsible for paying the fee at the end of the case.

Local Government and Community Resources

Find courts and helpful resources in your community.