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Does Ohio require a “grounds” for divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2021 | Family Law |

The vast majority of Ohio couples who end their marriages can agree on one thing: They’re simply incompatible together as a couple. When both parties agree on that fact, that’s usually sufficient reason for the court to grant their divorce.

What happens, however, when your spouse won’t agree that the marriage is simply destined to fail due to incompatibility? In those situations, you either need to separate and wait a year to ask the court to end your marriage anyhow or you must present the court with a specific legal reason — known as the “grounds” — for your request.

Available grounds for an Ohio divorce

When you allege that you have grounds for a divorce, you are essentially saying that your spouse is at fault for the marriage’s demise. In Ohio, you may have sufficient grounds for a divorce due to the following:

  • The habitual drunkenness of your spouse
  • Your spouse was already married to another
  • Your spouse engaged in adultery or cheated
  • Your spouse was willfully gone for at least a year
  • Your spouse is serving a sentence in a federal or state corrections facility.
  • The gross neglect of duty by your spouse (lack of financial support or marital relations, etc.)
  • Extreme cruelty inflicted by your spouse
  • Fraudulent contract, which means your spouse persuaded you to get married through a form of fraud

You cannot choose one of the fault grounds above without proof that your spouse acted wrongfully during your marriage. For example, you cannot cite extreme cruelty unless you have evidence to support your claim. Examples of such evidence include police reports or a physician’s report showing that you were abused or mistreated.

What’s the best option for you?

If you are unsure whether to seek an at-fault divorce or a no-fault dissolution, consider discussing your situation with an experienced legal advocate. Taking this step can help you make the best decision on how to end your marriage and move ahead with your life.

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