Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a divorce?

  • The easiest way is to contact an attorney to help you. There are many papers that must be completed and legal requirements that must be met.  In addition, an attorney can give you advice about your options and the best decisions to make and can speak for you when at court.  

Can I file my own papers, and if so, how?

  • Yes, it is possible to represent yourself and file your own papers, however it is highly recommended that you consult an attorney to make sure that everything is done properly. There are some very complex issues when terminating a marriage. If you decide to represent yourself, there are sample forms on the Clerk of Courts website and in the office of the Clerk of Courts.  If you are unable to afford an attorney, you may also wish to contact the Legal Aid of Western Ohio to see if you can access legal assistance.
  • Court personnel cannot provide legal advice and cannot assist you in completing the forms.

Do I have to appear in court, and if so, when will the hearing be?

  • To finalize a dissolution, divorce or legal separation, you must appear in court.  You will receive a written notice by mail or email indicating the date, time and type of hearing.  If you are unable to attend court on that date, you must file a Motion to Continue and state the reason.  You should contact the other party or his/her attorney regarding the request before you file your motion.  The court will review the motion and decide if it should be granted or denied.

What should I do if I cannot come to a hearing?

  • If you receive notice of a hearing but you are unable to attend, you must file a Motion to Continue in the case. You must state the reason that you are unable to attend and you should contact the opposing attorney/party to see if they oppose your request. Your request is to be filed 2 weeks in advance. The court will review your motion and decide if a continuance will be granted. Your case is not automatically continued at your request.

How do I talk to the Magistrate or Judge?

  • You will only be allowed to discuss your case in open court when the other side has an opportunity to be present (except for an ex-parte initial hearing). This is to ensure that both sides have the same opportunity to know what the magistrate hears and the chance to refute any evidence that is presented.
  • For more information read this pamphlet

What is the difference between a Dissolution and a Divorce?

  • In a Dissolution, the parties must agree on everything, including the division of debts and assets, as well as all matters relating to the children. Both parties must appear at the final hearing.
  • In a Divorce, many times the parties do not agree on how to resolve the issues when the case is filed. As the case proceeds, either the parties will come to an agreement or the court will decide the issues after having a trial. If the Defendant has been properly served, or has waived his/her appearance, a divorce case may proceed to trial even if the Defendant does not appear. If the Defendant is not present, the Plaintiff must have a corroborating witness testify about the grounds for divorce.

What is a Guardian ad litem?

  • A Guardian ad litem (“GAL”) is an attorney or trained professional who is appointed by the Court, who acts in the best interest of the minor children in a particular case.  The GAL investigates the facts of the case and files a report for the Court regarding the minor children’s best interest.
  • The GAL does not represent either parent and does not represent what the children want – the GAL represents what is best for the children.
  • Either parent may request the appointment of a GAL, or the Court may appoint one because of particular concerns about the children or the parents’ behavior.

What can be done if my Order/Decision seems unfair?

  • If the magistrate issues a Temporary Order or other Magistrate’s Order, either party may file a written Motion to Set Aside the Magistrate’s Order within 10 days of the file-stamped date on the Magistrate’s Order. The Judge will then review the order and the transcript, if prepared, and rule on the Motion to Set Aside.
  • If the magistrate issues a Magistrate’s Decision after a hearing on the issues, either party may file written Objections within 14 days of the Decision and the Judge will rule on the Objections.
  • It is necessary to file a transcript of the hearing for the Judge to consider your motion or objections.  A Request for Transcript shall be filed simultaneously with the projected cost of the transcript when you file your motion or objections.
  • See Ohio Civil Rule 53 regarding Objections to a Magistrate’s Decision and Motions to Set Aside a Court Order.
  • After there has been a final judgment entry signed by the judge and filed, you can appeal the entry within 30 days of the judgment entry. Your transcript shall accompany your appeal.

What can I do if I change my mind about having a civil protection order?

  • You will need to file a written Motion Dismiss.  When you file the motion, a hearing must be scheduled.  At the hearing, the case may be dismissed or modified if the magistrate determines that it is appropriate.  

Do I need to notify anyone if my address changes?

  • It is important to notify the Sandusky County Clerk of Courts if you move so that you can receive notice of all court proceedings.

How do I know what is filed in my case?

  • The opposing party or attorney should serve you a copy of any filings made in your case.  Additionally, you can check the court’s docket at Sandusky County Clerk of Courts website to see what, if anything, is filed in your case.

Should I bring my child to court with me?

  • The court discourages children from attending court hearings because the hearings address adult issues.  The court does not provide any babysitting services and children are easily distracted at court.  If you feel that your child should express his/her wishes and concerns, you should file a Motion for an In Camera Interview. The court will then schedule an interview with the child at a designated time. Despite attempts to shield children from court hearings, there may be times when it is necessary for your child to testify about facts in a particular case in open court.

I have been given parenting time at Village House, what is Village House?

  • Village House is a place where supervised visitation and exchanges take place for children and their non-residential parent.  
  • Village House is located at 350 Rawson Avenue, Fremont, Ohio 43420.
  • More information can be found at Village House’s website listed below or calling 419-334-4582.