If you and your spouse are at odds and have tried everything you can think of to resolve your disagreements, including marital counseling, parting ways may be something that you’re considering. However, before you cut ties, it is important to understand the differences between a legal separation and a divorce in Ohio, and which one may be better for you to pursue.

Legal Separation in Ohio

Legal separation can be an ideal way to determine whether or not a divorce is the right next step for your marriage without actually filing for divorce. In a legal separation, the court will issue orders regarding things like property division, spousal support, and child custody and child support but the marriage will not actually be terminated. This means that you will continue to remain legally married to your spouse while living apart and separate. This may be ideal for those who have a moral or religious opposition to divorce but cannot continue living with their spouse, who want to maintain benefits on their spouse’s record (i.e. health insurance), or who want to continue remaining married for practical or emotional reasons, such as the preservation of the family unit.

A legal separation may become the basis for a divorce at a later point if parties wish to actually terminate the marriage legally. Parties may also decide, after an amount of time, that they wish to resume living together as husband and wife.


Unlike a legal separation, a divorce is a civil lawsuit that is filed with the intent to end a marriage. In a divorce case, the parties must come to a decision about child custody and support, division of property, and spousal support. Once these issues have been resolved or a settlement has been reached or a judgment has been issued, the marriage will be legally terminated.

As a note, the state of Ohio differentiates between a dissolution of marriage and divorce (although many states use the two terms interchangeably). While a divorce is a civil lawsuit where the court is asked to make decisions about the above issues, a dissolution of marriage is a type of no-fault divorce where neither party has to prove grounds to terminate the marriage, and the couple files a joint petition together in agreement about all issues.

Learn More About Your Options by Calling Our Ohio Divorce Lawyers Today

If you are thinking about ending your marriage but are not sure which form of separation–legal separation, dissolution of marriage, or divorce–is best for your case, or what the process of obtaining each is, our lawyer can help. When you call our legal team, we will guide you through everything you need to know, and can represent you moving forward. Reach us today online or by phone for your initial consultation.