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Quick Tips About Divorce Jurisdiction in Ohio

Quick Tips About Divorce Jurisdiction in Ohio

In Ohio, the court that handles divorce and dissolution cases is the Court of Common Pleas which is located in each county. This means a particular county court has “jurisdiction” over a case.

Jurisdiction involves residency. Meeting Ohio residency requirements are usually easy and only a concern for a person who has recently moved or is planning a move shortly.

To find your local Ohio county Court of Common Pleas, visit Ohio Court Links.

To get a divorce or dissolution in the state of Ohio you only have to meet two requirements:

  • You have been a resident of the state of Ohio for at least 6 months before filing;
  • You have lived in the county in which you are filing for at least 90 days.

It is important to remember wherever you file, the laws of that particular state and county will govern your divorce. Where you were married doesn’t matter.

Courts do not consider spouses that are living apart due to military service or job responsibilities as no longer being residents of the state. Even if you are serving in Iraq or doing business consulting in Tokyo, the state where you are registered to vote, have a driver’s license, own a home and/or file your taxes will most likely be considered your residence.

For more information on military divorces, go here.

In the majority of cases, the first person to file for divorce (petitioner) determines which court has jurisdiction over the case. It’s important to remember this if you and your spouse have already separated and are living in separate residences. If these residences are in two different Ohio counties or two different states, the person who did not file for divorce (otherwise known as the respondent) may be required to travel to another state or county for court appearances.


Jurisdiction over a couple’s children—their support and custody—is a completely separate issue from whether a court has jurisdiction to grant a divorce. Due to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, a state can only decide custody matters if the child has lived there for at least six months within the time when the case was filed.

The idea of jurisdiction—and whether or not a court has it—can be confusing. These laws will continue to change to keep up with society and technology.

Have more questions about the jurisdiction in your divorce case? Contact Jack’s Law Office at (740) 369-7567.



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