Columbus Women’s Guide to Divorce

Every divorce is unique, however, there are certain rules and procedures that every divorce must follow. This guide will help you understand the divorce process in Columbus, Ohio so that you can feel confident in your next steps.

There are financial, emotional, and legal challenges to any divorce, and you should seek help from one of our Columbus divorce attorneys who can help you navigate your divorce case in the best way possible.

Your divorce will be finalized with a divorce decree, which is a legally binding document that could affect you for the rest of your life. Therefore, it is important that you have representation from someone who takes the time to understand your situation, and who has your best interests at heart.

Woodford Sathappan McGee exclusively represents women, we believe that our dedication gives us a clear advantage in the level of support we are able to offer. Our approach is personal yet professional and we will strive to save you time, money, and stress by using mediation wherever possible.

Contact us today and arrange a free consultation at 380-212-3731.

Why Hire Woodford Sathappan McGee?

At Woodford Sathappan McGee we prioritize negotiation, Our divorce attorneys are highly trained mediators and are unafraid to tackle even the most challenging situations.

Ohio Courts will expect you and your ex-spouse to try and reach your own decisions before they take over. While agreements may feel out of reach, many people are surprised by what they can achieve with our help.

We are dedicated to the needs of women, and we understand that mediation is usually the best avenue for them. Mediation has many benefits including:

  • Saves money, as court costs will be less.
  • Saves time, as you will not need to wait for several court dates.
  • Allows you to create a personalized plan that works for you and your family. This can be particularly beneficial for working out a shared parenting plan.
  • Encourages you and your ex-spouse to stay amicable.
  • Children are protected from lengthy court battles and increasing hostility between parents.

When you and your ex-spouse arrive at your own agreements, the court will still need to approve them. Your Columbus divorce attorney will understand the legal requirements of divorce and will increase your chances that your plan is one that they will accept.

Although we are advocates for mediation we also understand that it is not always an option. Sometimes amicable agreements are just not possible, or a history of abuse may prevent spouses from sitting down together. Our family law attorneys are equally skilled in the courtroom and will be prepared to fight for you using litigation if necessary.

Whether you need help with child custody, child support, division of marital assets, alimony, divorce modification, contempt proceedings, navigating the court system, domestic abuse, or other family law issues, we have the skills, experience, and resources to help.

What Are The Grounds For Divorce in Ohio?

In Ohio, you must provide ground for divorce. Most people opt for no-fault divorce as it protects their privacy. No-fault grounds allow couples to end their marriage based on incompatibility, or if they have been living apart for one year or more. Both spouses must agree to incompatibility in order for it to be used as grounds for divorce.

Alternatively, fault-based divorce cases do not require both parties to agree. Reasons for an at-fault divorce include:

  • One spouse neglects their duties to the other.
  • Adultery.
  • One spouse leaves and is absent for a year or more.
  • One party was already married to someone else.
  • Extreme cruelty.
  • Habitual alcohol or drug use.
  • One spouse has been served a prison sentence.

Divorce Methods in Columbus, OH

There are different types of divorce in Ohio, your decision will depend on the dynamics between you and your ex-spouse. It will always save you time and money if you can work together. You should speak to a divorce lawyer first and get their opinion on your specific case.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

You can continue with your divorce without any professional help. However, it is important to remember that your divorce decree will have a massive impact on your future, and is very difficult to change once it is in place. This method is generally not advised, however, if you and your partner agree to an uncontested divorce and you do not have any assets or minor children, then it could be a viable option.


Litigation is the default option, but also the most expensive and time-consuming. If you can’t agree, then you will need to go to trial. Sometimes this is the only option, but you should make sure that you have high-quality legal counsel.


With mediation, your attorney will work with you and your spouse to help you formulate a separation agreement that works. They will give you your options, take the time to understand each perspective, and help you to reach a fair and just resolution that protects your future.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, this is our specialty. Our mission is to guide, support, and fight for women at all stages of divorce.

What Is The Divorce Process in Ohio

The first step is to check that you can get divorced in Ohio. You must meet the following requirements:

  • You have lived in the state for six months or more.
  • You or your spouse have lived in the United States for at least 90 days.
  • If you are pregnant, you will not be able to finalize your divorce until after the baby is born, however, you can start the process.

Fill Out Forms

To file a Complaint for Divorce, you will need to fill out detailed forms about your finances, and any marital property. You will need to take great care as anything that is not true could look bad on you later. An attorney can help you make sure that everything is in order.

Temporary Orders

Divorce can take a long time to finalize, therefore you may need to file “requests for temporary orders.” These orders will set out obligations for things such as child custody while you are waiting for your divorce to complete.

Bring in and “Serve” the Forms

Your completed forms must be taken to the Clerk of Court at the Domestic Relations Court where you decided to file, along with a fee to file for divorce. The court will serve you divorce papers.

“Temporary Orders” are Decided

If you asked for temporary orders then your spouse will have 14 days to respond. If they fail to do so, the court will usually award you your orders. If they respond by asking for something different then the court will decide based on the information given.

If your case is particularly complex then the court may schedule a hearing to decide the outcome. Any temporary orders will be binding until your divorce is finalized.

Attend Hearings

There are many factors to your divorce that will need to be decided. These include child support, spousal support, child custody, marital property division, and more.

You will need to attend a pre-trial hearing to discuss the terms of the divorce and will need to prepare by bringing information about your expenses, assets, and debts.

The judge will determine what you have agreed upon and what you have not and you may be asked to work with a mediator if you aren’t already. If you already have a plan to present to the judge, and you have all the information you need ready, then they can review it and finalize it right away.  

If you are unable to reach an agreement then the court will set a date for your next hearing. The number of hearings will depend on how many contested issues there are.

Unless one spouse is significantly more financially stable than the other, typically each spouse has financial responsibility for their own representation and shares the costs of court proceedings.

Finalize the Divorce

If you have managed to formulate your own settlement, then the judge will read it and confirm whether it is in line with Ohio law, if it is it will be approved and signed.

If you cannot agree then the judge will take time to review the evidence and make a decision based on Ohio law. They will end the hearing and issue a written decision at a later date. They are responsible for ensuring that all issues are ended fairly including spousal support, child custody, property division, and more.

Your divorce is finalized once a “Judgment Entry for Divorce” is signed and filed with the court. This is usually filed automatically once the judge approves the divorce, and you should be mailed a copy.

Speak To One Of Our Columbus Divorce Lawyers

Woodford Sathappan McGee was established by Katie Woodford, Hari Sathappan, and Natalie McGee who shared a passion for helping women in family law matters. Our goal is to empower women to move forward with their life after divorce with confidence.

We believe that the key to success is a firm grasp of the law, the correct team of experts, creativity, and keeping you informed and engaged with every step of your case.

We are the only family law firm in Columbus to exclusively represent women. If you need a supportive place to discuss your experiences, while also securing support from someone with the skills, experience, and resources necessary to do everything possible for your case, then look no further.

Contact us today at 380-212-3731 to schedule a free consultation.

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