Ohio Divorce Laws

This page provides information about Ohio laws pertaining to marriage and divorce. If you have questions about how these laws pertain to your personal situation, we invite you to speak with one of our attorneys for a free consultation.

Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3101: Marriage

Section 3101.01: Persons Who May Be Joined In Marriage

In Ohio, males can get married at age 18 and females can get married at age 16. However, in order for a minor (under age 18) to get married, her parent, legal guardian or another approved adult must consent to the marriage.

The Ohio statutes currently still state that a marriage "may only be entered into by one man and one woman." They also say that any same-sex marriage entered into in the state will have no legal effect, and that same-sex marriages entered into outside of Ohio will not be recognized. However, in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that these laws were unconstitutional. Ohio Revised Code Sections 3101.01(A) and (C).

Section 3101.07: Expiration Of Marriage Licenses

Marriage licenses are effective for 60 days from the date of issuance. Marriages entered into more than 60 days after issuance are not authorized under Ohio law.

Section 3101.08: Who May Solemnize Marriages

The following individuals are authorized to conduct marriage ceremonies in Ohio: ordained and licensed ministers, county and municipal court judges, probate court judges and mayors (but only within their county).

Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3103: Husband And Wife

Section 3103.01: Mutual Obligations

"Husband and wife contract toward each other obligations of mutual respect, fidelity, and support."

Section 3103.03: Married Persons' Obligations Of Support

Spouses in Ohio owe a legal duty to provide financial support to one another "so far as the spouse is able." Spouses must also both support the couple's biological and adoptive children through age 18 or completion of high school, whichever comes later.

Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3105: Divorce, Alimony, Annulment, Dissolution Of Marriage

Section 3105.01: Divorce Causes

Under Ohio law, the following are acceptable fault-based grounds for divorce: either spouse had a husband or wife at the time of the marriage, willful absence for one year, adultery, extreme cruelty, fraudulent contract, gross neglect of duty, habitual drunkenness, imprisonment, procurement of a divorce outside of Ohio, and living separate and apart without cohabitation for at least one year. A spouse can also seek a divorce based on incompatibility, unless denied by the other spouse.

Section 3105.171: Equitable Division Of Marital And Separate Property Distributive Award

Marital property is subject to equitable division in a divorce. "Marital property" includes real estate and personal property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage, interests in property (including retirement benefits) acquired during the marriage, and income and appreciation of separate property during the marriage due to contributions of either spouse.

Separate property is not subject to equitable division and includes real estate and personal property acquired prior to the marriage, passive income from separate property, inheritances during the marriage, property excluded from marital property through a prenuptial agreement, gifts to individual spouses and personal injury compensation.

Section 3105.18: Awarding Spousal Support Modification Of Spousal Support

Ohio law defines spousal support as any payments to be made "to a spouse or former spouse, or to a third party for the benefit of a spouse or a former spouse, that is both for sustenance and for support of the spouse or former spouse." Spousal support can consist of real estate, personal property, a one-time lump-sum payment or ongoing financial support. Spousal support awards terminate on death of either party, unless otherwise specified in a court order.

Some of the factors to be considered in calculating a spousal support award include the spouses' incomes, earning abilities, ages, retirement benefits and education. Ohio Revised Code Section 3105.18(C).

Sections 3105.43, 3105.44 And 3105.45: Collaborative Family Law

In order to use collaborative law for their divorce, spouses must first enter into a written participation agreement that includes a statement of their intent to resolve their divorce through the collaborative process and the identity of the collaborative family lawyer who will represent each spouse during the process.

The collaborative law process ends with either: a negotiated resolution of all matters pertaining to the spouses' divorce, a negotiated resolution of certain matters with an agreement that the remainder will not be resolved through the family law process, or termination of the process prior to resolution. Either spouse can terminate the collaborative process with or without cause.

A lawyer who represents a spouse in collaborative divorce proceedings is precluded from representing the spouse if the divorce ends up in litigation.

Get Your Legal Questions Answered

Laubacher & Co. is a team of highly experienced Ohio divorce lawyers serving clients in the Cleveland area and throughout Cuyahoga County. If you are considering filing for divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.