1. What is a dissolution?

A Dissolution is the end of your marriage by agreement.  In a dissolution,
both Husband and Wife are agreeing that their marriage is over.  They
agree on all of the terms by which the marriage will be terminated, including
division of property, child custody, parenting time,  child support and
spousal support. Their agreement is put into a document called a
"Separation Agreement", and the Agreement, along with several other
documents,  is filed with the Court.  Both parties are appearing in Court, and
they are both asking the Judge to approve of their Agreement and end their
marriage based on the Agreement.

The key to a dissolution is that both parties agree on everything and that
they both appear in Court.  

2. How long does a dissolution take?

The law states that a dissolution hearing must occur not soon than 30 days,
nor longer than 90 days, from the date the Petition is filed. As a practical
matter, most dissolutions are scheduled for hearing approximately 45 days
after they are filed.  

When you allow for time to draft and sign the necessary paperwork, a
dissolution will generally take a total about 60 days from the date your fees
are paid in full, until the date your case is actually concluded.

3. Does a Separation Agreement have to be witnessed or notarized?

No.  There is no requirement that a Separation Agreement be witnessed
and/or notarized.  It can be, but it is not required by law.

4.  What is a divorce and how does it differ from a dissolution?

In a divorce, there is no agreement at the beginning of the case. A divorce is
started by one party filing a "Complaint for Divorce".  The Clerk of Courts will
then serve the other party with the Complaint, usually by certified mail.  The
other party will  have an opportunity to respond to the Complaint.

When one person files for divorce, he or she is essentially telling the Court
that the parties do not agree on whether the marriage should be over,
and/or what the terms of the end of the marriage should be. They are asking
the Court to decide.  

However, in most cases, the parties eventually agree on the terms of the
end of marriage and the case is settled.  If it does not settle, the Court will
have a trial and decide the issues for the parties.

5. What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is where one spouse files for divorce and the other
spouse does not respond.  If the spouse receiving the Complaint for does
not respond, after being properly served, then the Court will schedule the
matter for a short trial. Generally, the Court will grant the divorce at the
uncontested trial assuming that it has all the information it needs to make a
full decision.  

6. Do I need a witness an uncontested divorce trial?

Yes, you are required to bring a witness with you to an uncontested trial.  
You should bring a friend or family member, preferably someone who is
over 18.  They will simply be asked to corroborate that your testimony is true.

7.  How long does a divorce take?

An uncontested divorce will take approximately 90 days, assuming that
everything moves reasonably smooth.  The exact amount of time can vary
widely from case to case.  This is particularly true when there is a problem
obtaining service of the Complaint on your spouse.

If you have to serve the Complaint by publication,  it will take about 3-4
months from the date publication starts to get a Court date.  Again, this time
frame can vary from case to case.  

It is really difficult to provide an exact time as to how long a contested  
divorce will take.  It really depends on whether the parties settle the case.  If
the parties can settle, the divorce can usually be completed within several
weeks of the agreement.  

If the parties do not settle, a contested divorce with no children can last as
long as one year.  A  contested divorce with children can last as long as 1.5

All that being said,  I advise most clients that an average contested divorce
will last 4-8 months, with the caveat that it really differs from case to case.

8. What is a legal separation?

A legal separation deals with all the issues common to a divorce, except at
the end the parties are still married.  The Court will deal with all issues
concerning division of property, child custody, parenting time, child support
and spousal support.  However, the marriage will not be terminated.

A Complaint for Legal Separation is generally filed to deal primarily with
issues of child and spousal support.  A person may also file for legal
separation because they have some fundamental or religious objection to
being divorced.  

9.  What is an annulment?

An annulment of the marriage may be granted when there was a legal
impediment to the validity of the marriage.  The grounds for annulment are
listed in RC 3105.31 and are a bit complicated.  You should consult
personally with Mr. Heindel if you think you have grounds for an annulment.

It would be impossible to fully explain all the grounds for annulment.  
However, the most common grounds is that the consent to marry was
procured by fraud,  or that the marriage was never consummated.  There
are other grounds, and exceptions to most of them, so you should contact
Mr. Heindel to discuss your case.

10. Do I have to attend a Parenting Seminar?

Every person who has minor children of the marriage must attend a Court
sponsored parenting seminar.  The seminar is offered at various times and
locations.  It is about 2.5 hours long and costs $45.  You can call and
register for the seminar at (216) 671-1919.  They are open from 11-5,
Monday through Friday.

The Court will send you a brochure regarding the seminar after your case
has been filed with the Court. You should call and register when you receive
your brochure.  When you call, they will ask for your case number.  It will
appear on the outside of the envelope and will look something like this:

11.  Where is the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court?

The Domestic Relations Court is located in the Old Courthouse at 1
Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio  44113.  It is at the intersection of
Lakeside Avenue and Ontario Street.  

12.  Where can I park for Court?

There is a parking lot attached to the Courthouse, called Huntington Parking
Garage. There is usually parking available in that garage, especially on the
lower levels.  The current maximum parking fee is $8.00, but you may
spend less if you are not in Court too long.

There is a lot located on West Third Street which only costs $2.00.  This lot
is located down a hill and is across from the Courthouse on West Third.   
This lot requires a walk up a pretty steep hill to the Court.  

13.  Can I have information on the Cuyahoga Support Enforcement

The agency is located at 1640 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.  The
phone number is 216-443-5100 or 216-443-5760.  

Child Support Payments can be mailed to Ohio Child Support Payment
Central, P.O. Box 182372, Columbus, OH 43218-2372.  The following
information must be included in any payment you mail:  Your name and
social security number, your SETS case number, your Domestic Relations
case number.  If you have more than one support case, you must supply
complete information for all cases.

14. Is there a way I can follow my own case on the internet?

Yes.  The Domestic Relations Court has a website, located at  When you get to website, click on "Departments"
located on the top left portion of the page.  Select "Legal and Judicial".  From
there, you can access the Court docket and the Domestic Relations home