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Ohio Divorce Law Basics
by The Center for Principled Family Advocacy
 
 
The rules for divorce in Ohio are found in Ohio Revised Code Title 31, especially chapter 3105. The person filing for divorce must be an Ohio resident for six months before filing.

Divorce and dissolution are distinct legal actions in Ohio. Dissolution is cooperative. You negotiate all matters relating to the end of marriage, then file for dissolution. Both spouses must appear at the dissolution hearing.

Divorce is adversarial. You file for divorce when you cannot reach agreement with your spouse on whether and how to end the marriage.

A person filing must have grounds for divorce. Ohio allows fault and no-fault grounds. The nine fault grounds are:

  • Adultery
  • Gross neglect
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Having a another wife or husband living at the time of the marriage (bigamy)
  • Willful absence for one year
  • Fraudulent contract
  • Imprisonment
  • Getting a divorce in another state
When one spouse files a divorce complaint and the other fails to respond within 42 days of legal notification, the matters becomes an uncontested divorce.

There are two no-fault grounds. The first is voluntarily living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year. The second is incompatibility not denied by either spouse.

Neither the property division nor spousal support (alimony) is changed by a finding of fault by the court. Parental rights are a different matter, as a fault might indicate a person is unfit for some or any child-rearing responsibilities.

Most people prefer no-fault divorce. There is no economic benefit to a divorce on fault grounds. No-fault is better for a family emotionally and financially compared to investing energy and assets on a court fight.

A couple's interests are better served by resolving family disputes through mediation or negotiation with the help of professionals from the Center for Principled Family Advocacy.  

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