Complete Your Final Order

Completing the Final Decree for Legal Separation without Children

You filed for separation, gave your spouse time to respond and got a Court order scheduling a final hearing. Now you must fill out a final set of forms before your separation is finalized. Learn more about the forms you need and how to fill them out.

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Understanding the Basics

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Completing your separation decree

Before your final hearing, you must complete a set of forms for the Court to approve. This is called the “final decree.”

Follow these steps to fill out your final decree:

  1. Download the forms.
  2. Understand your scheduling order.
  3. Complete each section of the decree.
  4. Submit all documents to the Court's Compliance Office.

The forms explain the facts of your case and what will happen after the separation. You usually must submit them to the Court's Compliance Office at least 21 days before your final hearing.

Once the Judge reviews and approves the forms, your legal separation will be final.

You also may see the final decree called the:

  • Final judgment
  • Final judgment and decree
  • Final paperwork

If the Court has set a final hearing with the Judge in your case, you should get a Court document called an “Order Scheduling Final Hearing,” or scheduling order, with the date and time of the final hearing. You must fill out the final decree and submit it to the Court's Compliance Office before your final hearing.

Download the forms

You can download and fill out the forms you need to file a final decree for legal separation without children on this site. When you fill out the forms:

  • Use a computer, if possible. It will be easier to complete the forms on a computer. If you can only use a phone, print the forms first and then fill them in neatly by hand.
  • Write neatly. The Court will accept neat, handwritten forms. Use a blue pen, if possible. Print neatly.
  • Do not cross out any information. If you make a mistake writing by hand, use whiteout and then neatly enter the correct information.
  • Give details. You must give the Court all the information it needs to finalize your separation.
  • Take your time. Read each part carefullyIt takes most people a long time to complete the final decree. Pace yourself and take breaks when you need them.

You can find information you need to fill out the forms in:

  • Your case “docket.” Search for your case on the Montgomery County Clerk of Court’s website. Click on “docket” to find important dates, documents and information in your case.
  • Your scheduling order. The Court sends a document that gives the date of your final hearing. Look for the words “Order Scheduling Final Hearing.” This is your scheduling order.
  • The complaint for legal separation. The complaint is the first paperwork filed in the separation. Look for the words “Complaint for Legal Separation” at the bottom of your docket.

If you have a lawyer, your lawyer should complete the final decree for you. If you don’t have one, it may be helpful to find a lawyer.

If you have a low income and are having a hard time with the forms, you may be able to get help from a volunteer lawyer. Call (937) 496-7766 or email [email protected] for more information. You may need to leave your name and phone number so a representative can get back to you.

Read this article to understand your scheduling order and to find details about each part of the final decree.

Understand your scheduling order

Your scheduling order is a Court document that gives the date of your final hearing.

Look for a document called “Order Scheduling Final Hearing.” This is your scheduling order.

You can find the following information in your scheduling order:

  • Plaintiff
  • Defendant
  • Case number (or "Case no.”)
  • Judge
  • Date of your final hearing
  • Time of your final hearing
  • If “service was completed”
  • If your case is “non-contested”
  • When to submit your final paperwork (usually at least 21 days before your final hearing)

Pay attention to the date of your final hearing and when to submit the final decree to the Court. You can also learn about getting ready for a hearing.

Note: Don’t fill out a final decree until the Court instructs you to. If your spouse files an answer, your case is “contested,” and the Court may order a pretrial or settlement conference. Read each order from the Court carefully.

Complete each section of the decree

Once the Court has set a final hearing, fill out the final decree. Note:

  • Read each part carefully. The decree includes several sections. There are many parts asking for details about your case. Take your time to understand what to enter. Give the Court all the information it’s asking for.
  • Some parts won’t apply to your case. You can enter "N/A" or "not applicable" in the fields that don't apply to your case. Be sure to fill out all parts that do apply to your case.
  • Find details about each section. Click on the following links for details about each section.

Note: This article provides a general outline of how to complete the final decree. However, each case is different. Some of the information may not apply to you. You may need to take different steps than the ones outlined here.

Final Judgment for Legal Separation without Children (first page)

This page is used to give basic information about your case. Enter your information, including:

  • Plaintiff: This is the person who filed for separation. If you filed for separation, you are the Plaintiff. If the other person filed, they are the Plaintiff.
  • Defendant: This is other person. If you filed for separation, the other person is the Defendant. If the other person filed for separation, you are the Defendant.
  • Case number: This is the number the Court assigned to your case, also written as “case no.” It starts with the year your case was filed and is stamped on each document filed in your case.
  • Judge: This is the name of the Judge assigned to your case.

In the first paragraph:

  • This matter came on for final hearing on: Enter the date of your final hearing. You can find this date on your scheduling order.
  • Judge: Check the box and enter the name of the Judge assigned to your case. You can find the Judge's name on your scheduling order.
  • Plaintiff’s Complaint for Legal Separation without Children filed on: Enter the date the original complaint was filed (not today’s date). You can find the complaint filing date on the docket or the complaint itself.
  • Defendant’s Counterclaim filed on: Only use this section if there is a counterclaim. If one person filed for separation and the other person filed a counterclaim, enter the date they filed the counterclaim. You may not have a counterclaim in your case. For example, non-contested cases don’t have a counterclaim.
  • Upon the following: If there was some other filing in your case, list it here. You may not have another filing, for instance in a non-contested case.
Findings

This section is used to explain facts that are part of your case.

A. Check all that apply:

  • Defendant was properly served: After one person filed for separation, the other person (the Defendant) was served with the papers. If your scheduling order says “service was completed,” the Court determined the Defendant was properly served.
  • Defendant’s waiver of service: The Defendant has given up the right to be served with Court papers. You may not have a waiver of service in your case. If you do, you should see “Waiver of Service” on the docket.
  • Defendant filed an Answer: The Defendant responded to the separation papers by filing an Answer. If your scheduling order says “non-contested,” the Court determined that the Defendant did not file an answer.
  • Defendant failed to file an Answer or plead: The Defendant received the separation papers but never responded in Court. This applies if your scheduling order says “service was completed” and the case was “set as a non-contested divorce or legal separation.”
  • Plaintiff replied to Counterclaim: The person who filed responded after the other person filed their own claims for separation. If your scheduling order says “non-contested,” there is no counterclaim.
  • Plaintiff failed to reply to Counterclaim: The person who filed for separation did not respond to the other person’s claims for separation. If your scheduling order says “non-contested,” there is no counterclaim.

B. Present at the hearing were the:

Check any boxes that apply:

  • Plaintiff: The person who filed for separation.
  • Defendant: The other person.
  • Counsel for the Plaintiff: The lawyer of the person who filed for separation.
  • Counsel for the Defendant: The lawyer of the other person.

C. At the time the Complaint and/or Counterclaim was/were filed:

  • Plaintiff was a resident of this county for at least 90 days: Check this box if the person who filed for separation lived in Montgomery County for at least 90 days before filing.
  • Defendant was a resident of this county: Check this box if the other person lived in Montgomery County when the separation papers were filed.

E. Plaintiff and Defendant were married to one another on:

F. The legal separation is the date of: Check the correct box to show the date you want your separation to start: 

  • final hearing: This means your separation will start the same day as your final hearing.
  • as specified: This means you want your separation to start on a different date than your final hearing. Explain when you want it to end.

G. Check all that apply regarding child(ren)

Check which box applies to you regarding pregnancy:

  • no child(ren) expected: Neither of you is pregnant.
  • child(ren) expected: One of you is pregnant. Enter the baby’s due date.

Check which box applies to you regarding children:

  • no child(ren) from this marriage or relationship: You don’t have any children together.
  • child(ren) from the marriage: You have one or more children together. Enter the number of children. 
    • emancipated adults and not under any disability: Enter the number of your children who are over 18 and no longer your dependents. If all your children are under 18, you would enter “0”.
    • minor children and/or mentally or physically disabled and incapable of supporting or maintaining themselves: Enter the number of your children who are under 18 or dependents with a disability. Enter each child’s full name and date of birth (month, day, year).

H. Select one:

  • Neither Plaintiff nor Defendant is in the military: This means neither of you are serving in the U.S. military.
  • The Plaintiff and/or Defendant is in the military: One or both of you are serving in the U.S. military but still can respond in the separation case. Check the correct box to show who is in the military.

I. Check all the “grounds” for divorce that are listed in the complaint for divorce. For example, grounds commonly include that the Plaintiff and Defendant are incompatible.

Check the docket if you don’t have a copy of the complaint. Find your docket by searching for your divorce case on the Montgomery County Clerk of Court’s website and clicking on “docket.”

J. Check all that apply:

  • Plaintiff... full and complete disclosure: The person who filed for separation has told the Court about all their property, assets, debts, income and expenses.
  • Defendant... full and complete disclosure: The other person has told the Court about all their property, assets, debts, income and expenses.

 

M. Check all the “grounds” for divorce that are listed in the complaint for divorce. For example, grounds commonly include that the Plaintiff and Defendant are incompatible.

Check the docket if you don’t have a copy of the complaint. Find your docket by searching for your divorce case on the Montgomery County Clerk of Court’s website and clicking on “docket.”

K. Check all that apply. 

First: Legal Separation Granted

Check any boxes that apply to your case. It’s common for none to apply.

Second: Property

This section is used to explain how you will divide any property you have. You can use extra paper if you need it.

Use the correct sections to show who is keeping what:

  • Plaintiff shall have the following” sections show what property will go to the person who filed for separation.
  • Defendant shall have the following” sections show what property will go to the other person.

Fill in each section that applies, depending on what kind of property you have:

  • H. Other orders regarding transfers of property: You can use this section to address property issues, such as title transfers.

Real Estate

If you own a house and are selling it, explain:

  • Who is responsible for selling it.
  • How long that person has to sell it.
  • How you will divide the money you get from the sale.
  • Who will make mortgage, tax or repair payments before the house is sold.
  • The full description of the property from the deed. (Keep reading for how to get a copy of your deed.)

If you own a house and one of you is keeping it, explain:

  • Who will get the house.
  • When the other person will move out (if you still live together).
  • Whose names are on the mortgage.
  • When the mortgage will be refinanced to one person’s name only.
  • Whose names are on the deed.
  • If you are using a quit claim deed to remove the other person’s ownership or dower rights in the property. Also attach a copy of the quit claim deed.
  • The full description of the property from the deed. (See below for how to get a copy of your deed.)

To get a copy of your deed:

  • Go to the Montgomery County Recorder’s online document search.
  • Enter your name (or your spouse’s name).
  • Find your deed.
  • Click on the camera image.
  • Copy the full description of the property. The full description includes the paragraphs that come after “the following real property” plus the parcel number.
  • Print a copy of the deed. From the recorder’s website, hit the print icon. Then print the document or save it as a PDF.

Automobiles

For each vehicle you list, state:

  • The year, make and model.
  • Whose name is on the title.

If both of you are on the title, you will need a title transfer, and you should also state:

  • The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).
  • When you will transfer the title.
  • If you need to refinance.
  • The date you will refinance by.

Retirement Accounts

If you are dividing an account, explain:

  • If one of you is responsible for getting a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or Division of Property Order (DOPO) to divide the account. 
  • How long the person has to divide it.

Orders dividing retirement benefits are complicated. It may be helpful to find a lawyer to determine what kind of order you need.

Learn more about dividing property in a divorce.

Third: Debt

This section is used to explain how you will divide your debts after the separation.

Include any credit cards, mortgage loans, car loans or other debts. You can use extra paper if you need it.

Use the correct sections to show who will pay what:

  • A. Plaintiff debts: The person who filed for separation will be responsible for the debts you list here. The other person will no longer be responsible for them (and will be held “harmless from all claims”).
  • B. Defendant debts: The other person will be responsible for the debts you list here. The person who filed for separation will no longer be responsible for them (and will be held “harmless from all claims”).

Learn more about dividing debt.

Fourth: Spousal Support

This section is used to explain whether either of you will pay spousal support – money to the other person after the separation.

A. Spousal Support Not Awarded

Check this box if neither of you will pay spousal support to the other after the separation.

B. Spousal Support Awarded 

Use this section if you want spousal support in your case.

Check the boxes that apply to your case:

  • Plaintiff shall pay Defendant: This means the person who filed for separation will pay spousal support to the other person.
  • Defendant shall pay Plaintiff: This means the other person will pay spousal support to the person who filed for separation.

Also enter:

  • amount of $___ per month: This is how much spousal support the person should get each month.
  • commencing on: This is the date spousal support payments should start.
  • due on the: This is when spousal support payments should be due each month. For example, sometimes payments are due on the “first” day of the month.

C. Termination of Spousal Support

You can use this section to give reasons spousal support could end early.

Check any boxes that apply:

  • cohabitation comparable to marriage: The person getting spousal support should stop getting it if they move in with their significant other.
  • remarriage of the person receiving support: The person getting spousal support should stop getting it if they marry someone else.
  • Other (specify): Any other reasons why spousal support could end early.

D. Method of Payment of Spousal Support

Checking this box means:

  • The person ordered to pay spousal support will make payments to the Ohio Child Support Payment Central.
  • Payments will be administered by the Montgomery County Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA).
  • The CSEA will withhold money from the person’s paycheck.

E. Reservation of Jursidiction

Check any boxes that apply.

F. Other orders regarding spousal support (specify)

You can use this section if you want to explain anything else the final separation judgment should say about spousal support.

G. Arrearage

This section applies only if you had temporary orders for spousal support. Only check a box if it applies to your case:

  • will survive this judgment entry: This means overdue spousal support from temporary orders still must be paid, even after the separation is final.
  • will not survive this judgment entry: This means overdue spousal support from temporary orders won’t be owed anymore once the separation is final.
  • Other: This section can be used to explain anything else about overdue spousal support.
Fifth: Tax Return Options

Use this section to explain whether the two of you have filed your tax returns, who is responsible for any unfiled returns and how you will divide any tax refund payments.

Select a total of four boxes in this section – one for every two statements.

Current Tax Year (usually the same as the calendar year)

Check the box that applies:

  • filed tax returns: You filed your tax returns this tax year.
  • NOT filed tax returns: Your tax returns haven’t been filed this tax year. Explain who is responsible for filing them and when.

Prior Tax Years

Check the box that applies:

  • filed for All Prior tax years: Your tax returns have been filed for past years.
  • NOT filed for All Prior tax years: You didn’t file your tax returns for one or more past year. Explain who is responsible for filing the tax return(s) and when.

Tax Refunds/Deficiencies

Check the box that applies:

  • NO Tax Deficiencies Owing: You don’t owe any taxes, interest or penalties from any past tax returns.
  • Tax Deficiencies Owing: You owe late or unpaid taxes, interest or penalties from one or more past tax returns. Explain who is responsible for paying them and when.

Check the box that applies:

  • NO Tax Refund: You aren’t splitting up the money from a past tax refund as part of your separation.
  • Tax Refund: You are splitting up money from a past tax refund in your separation.
Sixth: Other Orders

You can use this section to explain anything else that should be part of the separation and hasn't been specifically addressed yet.

Seventh: Court Costs

This section is used to explain who is responsible for paying Court costs in your case.

Court costs shall be (select one):

  • Taxed to the deposit. Court costs due above the deposit to be paid as follows: This is the most common option. It means Court costs will be taken out of the separation filing fee paid at the start of the case. Also explain who can be billed for extra costs that may come up. Note: If your spouse did not attend a hearing, they can’t be billed for Court costs.
  • Other (specify): This is where to explain anything else about Court costs. If you filed a Poverty Affidavit, note that here.
Eigth: Clerk of Courts

The Clerk of Courts will send a copy of the separation judgment entry once it is final. This section is used to explain how the Clerk should send it in your case.

The Clerk of Courts shall provide:

  • a certified copy to: Check the box and enter both of your names for the Clerk of Courts to send both of you a copy of the separation judgment via certified mail.

Whoever completes the final decree should sign in the correct space:

  • Plaintiff signature: This applies if the person who filed for separation also completes the final decree.
  • Defendant signature: This applies if the other person in the separation completes the final decree.

Submit all documents

Once you have completed the final decree, double check your packet of forms to make sure you have everything.

Your packet should include:

  • Final Decree of Separation (12 pages plus any extra paper you used)

You also may need to include:

  • A copy of the deed to your house
  • A copy of a quit claim deed you are using

When you are done, submit your completed packet of forms to the Court’s Compliance Office for review. Bring your packet in person to Room 261 in the Courthouse.

A Compliance Officer is assigned to you based on the first letter of your last name.

First letter of your last name: Compliance Officer telephone number:

The Compliance Office will contact you after their review is complete. They will tell you if you need to make changes to your forms. Note: They will contact you by phone, so make sure they have your correct phone number.

Follow their instructions and make any changes they tell you to make.

Once your decree is ready for submission, the Compliance Office will submit it to the Judge.

If you haven't submitted any paperwork yet and want to know more about the process, you can contact the Court Navigator at (937)496-7766.