Is Ohio a “No-Fault” Divorce State?

In the past, dissolution of marriage or “no-fault” divorces was not available to people. Individuals were forced to remain in marriages unless they had evidence proving their partners were engaging in atrocious acts. However, in the past sixty years, most states have passed “no-fault” divorce laws. No-fault divorce laws generally allow one spouse to file for divorce and receive a dissolution of their marriage as long as both spouses are in agreement that they not compatible.

Yes, Ohio is a No-Fault Divorce State

Ohio adopted no-fault dissolution of marriage. When both spouses do not contest the divorce, declare that they are incompatible, have been living apart, and agree to property division, spousal and/or child support, and restoration of name, they may be qualified to file a no-fault dissolution of marriage. No-fault dissolution of marriage requires that the married couple has lived separately for one year or longer.

Although Ohio has a no-fault divorce law, that doesn’t mean fault-based grounds for divorce do not exist. “Fault-based grounds” are the “reasons” why a divorce should be granted and assigns blame for the marriage’s dissolution to one party. These “fault-based grounds” are:

  1. Adultery; 
  2. Extreme cruelty; 
  3. Imprisonment;
  4. Habitual drunkenness; 
  5. Gross neglect;
  6. Willful absence for more than one year; and 
  7. Fraudulent enticement to marry.

If one spouse files for divorce employing a fault-based ground, then they have the burden of proving that ground for divorce exists by a preponderance of the evidence. For example, if a spouse is accusing their spouse of having an extra-marital affair, they must prove their spouse has been unfaithful. If they fail to prove their accusation, then their divorce petition could be denied, and the spouses will remain married.

Ohio’s no-fault dissolution of marriages makes fault-based divorces unnecessarily tricky. However, suing for divorce while alleging at least one fault-based ground is beneficial to an innocent spouse if they are able to prove the fault-based ground. The Court might consider the misconduct of one spouse when deciding child custody.

Do You Want to File for Divorce in Ohio? Dawes Legal, LLC Can Help

It is important to know your options in Ohio when you are considering divorce. Dawes Legal, LLC can be your trusted guide through this uncertain and unsettling time. We will review with you the potential grounds for divorce and advise you as to the best option considering your situation and your goals. We may also be able to recommend legal separation as an alternative to divorce. Whatever is facing you in your marriage or relationship, know that Dawes Legal, LLC is here to help you. Call our office at (614) 733-9999 and set up your consultation today.