Ohio Divorce Laws
Grounds for Filing for Divorce in Ohio
Under Ohio law, spouses seeking to end their marriages have two primary options: If both parties agree that they are incompatible (commonly known as having “irreconcilable differences”), then they can file for a no-fault dissolution. Otherwise, if only one spouse is seeking a divorce, he or she will have to have a specific reason as outlined in Section 3105.01 of the Ohio Revised Code. In Ohio, the legally permissible reasons for a fault-based divorce include:
- Your spouse was already married when you got married
- Your spouse has abandoned you or you have been living separately for at least a year
- Your spouse has committed adultery
- You are a victim of extreme cruelty, including domestic violence
- Your spouse is habitually drunk
- Your spouse is in state or federal prison at the time you are seeking to file for divorce
Proving your reasons for seeking a divorce can be tricky, and as discussed below, your spouse has the right to challenge your filing and try to prevent you from obtaining a divorce. At Laubacher & Co., we have decades of experience helping clients successfully file for divorce in Ohio. We know what evidence you will need to present to the judge in order to obtain a divorce, and we can help you seek to end your marriage as quickly as possible.
Ohio’s Other Requirements for Filing for Divorce
In addition to agreeing to file for a no-fault dissolution or having sufficient grounds to file for a fault-based divorce, you must meet certain residency requirements as well. In order to file for divorce in Ohio:
- You must have lived in Ohio for at least the last six months, and
- In most cases, you must have lived in your current county of residence for at least 90 days.
Cuyahoga County Divorce Laws, Customs & Procedures
Contested and Uncontested Divorces in Cuyahoga County
Once you file for a fault-based divorce in Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court, your spouse will have 28 days to respond. If he or she fails to file an answer, you will be permitted to pursue an “uncontested” divorce. This is usually the best-case scenario because:
- In order to prove your grounds for divorce, all you will have to do is testify and bring a witness to corroborate your testimony.
- In most cases, the judge will decide property division, custody, and support issues according to your requests (although, you will want to work with an attorney to ensure that your requests comply with Ohio law).
- The whole process can be over in as little as two months.
However, if your spouse contests your divorce, then the process can become difficult and time-consuming. If your spouse contests your divorce, you will want an experienced team of local attorneys on your side.
Options for No-Fault Divorce in Ohio
If you and your spouse agree that it is time to get a divorce, then there are a few options available for ending your marriage relatively quickly and with minimal strain on your family. For example, you and your spouse may be able to use mediation to resolve any differences with the help of a neutral third-party facilitator. Another option, known as “collaborative law,” allows spouses to work together with legal, financial, family, and psychological advisors as necessary to reach an agreement on the terms of their divorce. Read more in our divorce and family law FAQs.
The county court’s website also provides useful information for individuals and couples considering divorce, including:
- Court forms for divorce, child support, and spousal support
- Answers to more divorce FAQs
- Information for victims of domestic violence
How Do I Know if My Reasons are Enough to Get a Divorce?
Choosing to file for divorce is a life-changing decision. If you are struggling with your decision or wondering if your reasons are enough to get a divorce, we can help you evaluate your situation and refer you to other professionals who can help answer your non-legal questions about divorce.
When it comes to divorce, everyone’s situation is unique. What makes sense for someone else may not make sense for you. However, generally speaking, some of the reasons we most frequently see that people file for divorce include issues arising:
- After filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy
- After a husband cheats on a wife
- After a wife cheats on a husband
- After the birth or death of a child
- After one spouse contracts a terminal illness or undergoes chemotherapy
- After one spouse goes to prison
- After an incident or multiple incidents of domestic violence
Again, each situation is unique, and we would caution against rushing to a decision based upon any list you made find of possible reasons for divorce. This list also should not be construed as free legal advice. If you are contemplating ending your marriage, we encourage you to contact us to schedule a free, personal consultation.
Ohio and U.S. Divorce Rates
According to the latest data published by the Ohio Department of Health, more than 58 percent of all marriages in Ohio end in divorce. Roughly a third of all marriages involve at least one spouse who has been previously married. Each year, more than 32,000 minor children in Ohio are impacted by their parents’ decision to go their separate ways.
Statistics published by the federal government indicate that the national divorce rate is around 40 percent. However, the federal government’s divorce figures are missing data from six states, so the national divorce rate is actually likely higher than 40 percent. Although Ohio’s 58-percent divorce rate would still appear to be well above the national average.
Ohio Divorce Rates by County
Among Ohio counties, divorce rate vary significantly. On the low end, Stark County has a divorce rate of just 7.9 percent. On the high end, a handful of counties actually have a divorce rate higher than 100 percent – indicating that couples have moved into the county and then filed for divorce. As mentioned above, Cuyahoga County’s divorce rate is slight above the state’s average – at 62.7 percent.
You can visit the Department of Health’s website for Ohio divorce rate information dating all the way back to 1990.