Ohio Divorce Abroad: What You Need To Know!
Good News For Couples Seeking An Ohio Divorce Abroad
So you and your spouse have made the decision to separate, but there’s one more catch added on to the already long list of catches: you’re living overseas. Divorce law in the United States is primarily left to the states, and with each state choosing to recognize different aspects and origins of a foreign divorce, it may just be easier and less of a headache to file for a divorce in the state where at least one of you has residency.
Since you live overseas, it could be either difficult or expensive (most likely both!) to travel to the courthouse for your divorce proceedings, but there is good news: in Ohio, some courts are now letting parties appear in court through contemporaneous transmission (i.e. video-chat). Now, this isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to just stay completely out of the courtroom, but if you can convince the judge that it is a compelling interest, and that the appropriate safeguards are taken, then you might have a solid case fpr ohio divorce overseas. The drawback of this opportunity is that it is solely up to the judge’s discretion to allow the video-chat or not.
What Are The Requirements To File An Ohio Divorce Overseas?
To file for divorce in Ohio, the person filing must have been an Ohio resident for at least the past six months, and must have been a resident of the county in which they are filing for the past 90 days. O.R.C. 3105.03. A person is a resident of Ohio if they are domiciled here. Ohio defines “domiciled” as a person having more than 212 contact periods in the state of Ohio in one taxable year. A contact period refers to the time physically spent in Ohio (i.e. one day equals one contact period).
Judges will weigh all the factors depending on your specific circumstances, such as your purpose abroad (living, working, stationed, or on vacation), the relative ease with which you could return to Ohio, and whether both spouses are abroad or just one. For American service members, the Servicemember Civil Relief Act will kick in, and allows for a stay of proceedings until the servicemember is available to appear back in the United States, unless the judge grants a contemporaneous transmission appearance.
Check With Your Local Embassy When Seeking Divorce Abroad
Now, say you get to the trial, after you’ve gone through all the work of convincing the judge to let you video chat your way into the courtroom; now what? Here comes the issue of the oath. Again, this is something that is left to the discretion of the judge. Rule 28 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure state that an oath in a video-chat or telephonic deposition may be administered by: “a person authorized to administer any oath by the laws of this state, a person appointed by the court in which the action is pending, or a person agreed upon by written stipulation of all the parties.” However, a judge may decide they would like to administer the oath to you over the video conference, or they may require you to hire a notary to read you the oath on-camera.
In addition to consulting with a family law attorney, you should check with your local embassy or consulate for any assistance that they might provide!
PUBLISHERS NOTE: I want to thank Samuel Moore for his research and writing this blog post about ohio divorce abroad. Sam is a third year law student at the University of Dayton School of Law and is externing with us this semester. Well done Sam!
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.