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Cleveland Divorce Checklist

Cleveland divorces require a bit of preparation. If you are considering a Cleveland divorce, you will want to make sure you have everything in order prior to filing. This article will explain what you need to do to prepare for your divorce.

Check Whether You Are Eligible for a Cleveland Divorce

Not just anyone can file for a divorce in Cleveland. You must meet certain residency requirements to file your case with the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court. To meet Cleveland residency requirements, you must be a resident of Ohio for six months prior to filing for divorce.

Check Whether You Have Proper Grounds for a Cleveland Divorce

To file for a Cleveland divorce, you must have proper grounds, or cause.

Cleveland allows for both no-fault divorces and fault-based divorces. A no-fault divorce means that neither spouse is accusing the other of wrongdoing. A fault-based divorce is when one spouse accuses the other of wrongdoing. For a fault-based divorce, the party alleging the wrongdoing will have to provide evidence to support his claim.

Possible grounds for a no-fault divorce in Cleveland are:

  • The spouses have lived apart for one year
  • Incompatibility, assuming both parties agree

Grounds for a fault-based divorce in Cleveland include:

  • Bigamy
  • Willful absence of a spouse for one year
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • A fraudulent marriage contract
  • Any gross neglect of duty
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Imprisonment of the spouse in a state or federal institution at the time the divorce complaint is filed
  • An out-of-state divorce that does not release you from the obligations of an Ohio marriage

If you do not know which grounds to cite for your divorce, reach out to a divorce attorney in Cleveland. The attorney should be able to assess your situation and provide you with legal guidance about how to file your case.

Hire a Cleveland Divorce Attorney

If you meet the preliminary requirements to file for a Cleveland divorce, you should next research Cleveland divorce lawyers.

Although you can file for a divorce without the assistance of an attorney, Cleveland divorce laws are fairly complex. In addition, you may have other issues in addition to divorce (such as child custody, child support and property division) that need to be addressed. A Cleveland divorce lawyer can help you with all these issues while providing you with additional legal guidance throughout the divorce process.

To begin the hiring process. reach out to friends and family members who may have used a Cleveland divorce lawyer in the past. Ask them if they were pleased with their attorneys' services. If so, you can ask for a referral.

You can also use a site like Whether you are getting a divorce in Parma, Westlake, Seven Hills or another part of Cuyahoga County, can connect you to a divorce lawyer near you.

Just fill out the form on this site, or call 1-877-913-7222. After answering a few brief questions, will provide you with the name of at least one Cleveland-area divorce attorney. The lawyer will then contact you within two business days, or you can reach out to him at your own convenience.

Next, set up an initial consultation with a lawyer you are interested in. This is a preliminary meeting that gives you an opportunity to get to know the attorney, tell him about your case and decide whether to hire him. Be sure to prepare a list of questions for the attorney in advance. Also, bring pen and paper to take notes with.

Once you have interviewed any attorney you are interested in, you should be able to make an informed hiring decision.

Gather Documents to Support Your Cleveland Divorce

In anticipation of your divorce, you will want to gather any documents that are relevant to the proceedings. Your attorney will be able to advise you on which documents are most relevant.

In general, the type of information you should try to collect includes:

  • Financial statements, such as bank statements
  • Pay stubs or your income tax filing
  • Proof of property ownership, such as a deed or title
  • Any documents that may support your child custody claim

Separate Your Life from Your Spouse's

You will also need to take steps to separate your life from your spouse's. One way to do this is to untie your finances.

Close any joint accounts you have together, such as a joint checking or savings account. You will also want to close all joint credit cards as well.

If you need to, take action to purchase your own health insurance.

Revise your will as necessary.

Finally, notify everyone of your divorce. It is especially important that your employer and insurance carriers know about your impending single status.

Once you have taken these initial steps, you and your attorney can prepare your divorce complaint and file it with the court.