Options For Ending A Marriage In Ohio
In Ohio, there are four ways to end a legal marriage. A single spouse or a couple can file for dissolution, divorce, annulment or legal separation. Each method to end a marriage has distinct differences, and of the four options, annulment is the least commonly used.
Divorce is filed by one spouse and must include legal grounds. Some of the common grounds for divorce in Ohio include adultery, fraudulent contract, habitual drunkenness and separation of at least one year. The spouse who files for divorce must prove the allegations in divorce court.
No-fault divorce in Ohio is called dissolution of marriage. Dissolution of marriage is filed jointly. The spouses write their own separation agreement and request the court’s approval. In order to get dissolution, all property division, custody and debt issues must be addressed in the separation agreement. If the court approves the agreement, it becomes a court order. If the couple cannot agree on one or more issues, they will not qualify for a dissolution of marriage and one of them has to file for divorce so the court can resolve their disagreements.
Legal separation is often used when a couple has not lived in the state long enough to file for divorce or the spouses choose to stay legally marriage for financial reasons. For a legal separation, the couple can file jointly or separately. They may write their own separation agreement, but if they do not, the court will decide matters related to child custody, property division, spousal support and repayment of debts. In some cases, a legal separation is later converted into a divorce.
An experienced divorce lawyer may advise a client who is unsure which option they should use to end their marriage. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages, which may make getting advice from a lawyer a beneficial way to decide how to handle the end of a marriage.
Source: Ohio Legal Services, “Family Law : Legal Separation, Divorce and Dissolution“, September 03, 2014