Although many states have abolished the concept of fault in divorce, in Ohio, there are two basic options for couples seeking to go their separate ways: filing for dissolution—which does not require the parties to state a reason for ending their relationship—and divorce—which does require the person who is filing for divorce to list a reason. This means that an activity such as adultery during the divorce can affect other areas related to divorce, such as spousal support and asset distribution. It also means that it is entirely possible for private details of the marriage to become a matter of public record, so it should be weighed carefully in comparison to filing for dissolution.
Under state law, one of the following grounds must be provided if you are filing for divorce:
- Already married at the time of marriage (now at issue);
- Willful absence of the adverse party for at least one year;
- Extreme cruelty;
- Fraudulent contract;
- Gross neglect of a duty;
- Habitual drunkenness;
- Imprisonment of one party in a correctional institution at the time the complaint is filed;
- Procurement outside the state of Ohio by either party where the party who procured it is released from marriage obligations while they remain binding on the other party;
- When spouses have lived separate and apartment without interruption for one year; or
Divorce vs. Dissolution
In providing a grounds for divorce, you are effectively filing for a fault-based divorce. In the same vein, if both parties do not agree on asset division, child custody, spousal support, etc., they typically will file for a divorce instead of a dissolution. While courts will typically take certain factors into account when deciding on spousal support—factors such as the length of the marriage, the ages and conditions of the spouses, whether one spouse contributed to the marriage as a homemaker and this affected their earning ability, etc.—Ohio courts also have the ability to take adultery into account because the law allows them to consider any factor they find to be relevant and equitable. This includes any new residence that one party may have obtained access to due to the adultery—particularly if that party is requesting spousal support.
Dissolution, on the other hand, is much more cooperative process, whereby a couple typically negotiates a settlement and separation agreement involving any relevant issues such as assets and spousal support—working with attorneys and sometimes even mediators—and then filing for dissolution. However, if you begin the process of dissolution and hit an issue that you cannot agree on, it is entirely possible to work with your attorney and file for a fault-based divorce instead.
Divorce Attorneys in Dayton, Ohio
If you are filing for divorce, we can help. With over 20 years of providing experienced legal services for Dayton, Miami Valley, and surrounding communities, we provide aggressive representation for our clients contemplating or going through divorce. Contact us today so that we can get started.