First, it is important for Ohioans considering divorce to know that you do not have to place fault in order to end your marriage. Most people file for divorce on the grounds of incompatibility. Essentially, the marriage is no longer working, so it is time to end it. This is referred to as a no-fault divorce. In fact, even if you believe that your spouse was at fault for the collapse of the marriage, you do not have to file for divorce on those grounds. The same is true if your spouse believes you were at fault.
Fault-Based Grounds For Divorce
While many states are strictly no-fault when it comes to divorce, Ohio is one where it is possible to allege fault-based grounds for divorce. There may be strategic reasons for filing a fault-based divorce. Depending on how your spouse was at fault, it may impact how property is divided or whether or not there will be alimony. On the other hand, a divorce filed on fault-based grounds is more likely to be contentious, leading to a long, drawn-out battle that you may want to avoid.
The fault-based grounds for divorce, per Ohio Revised Code 3105.01 Divorce Causes:
- One spouse was already married prior to this marriage
- One spouse was absent for at least a year
- One spouse committed adultery
- One spouse inflicted extreme cruelty on the other
- The marriage was fraudulent
- Gross neglect of duty by either spouse
- One spouse was regularly intoxicated
- The incarceration of either spouse
- One spouse obtained a divorce in another state
In some cases, there may be multiple fault-based grounds on which a spouse may file for divorce. People considering filing a fault-based divorce should proceed with care and make certain they understand how it will impact the entire divorce process.
The Ohio Family Law Revised Code also offers no-fault divorce grounds:
- Spouses have lived separately without cohabitation for a year or more
- Both spouses agree that they are incompatible
No-fault does not mean no-conflict. While spouses filing for divorce on no-fault grounds may not be making accusations that one is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage, that doesn’t mean they will see eye-to-eye on everything. There still may be conflicts over property division, child custody, spousal support, child support or other matters.