I was recently listening to a favorite podcast of mine (Criminal with Phoebe Judge – listen if you haven’t) and she did an episode titled “The Divorce Colony.” As a divorce lawyer, I was instantly intrigued. Back in the late 1800’s, most states did not have any grounds to allow for people to get a divorce. For example, adultery was the only ground in New York. People needing a divorce did not have a lot of options. However, Sioux Falls, SD became the place to be for those people needing a divorce in their state that did not allow for it, hence the “divorce colony” moniker. People (mainly wealthy people) could travel to Sioux Falls, live there for three months to establish residency, and then could file and be granted what we know now as a “no-fault divorce.”
As late as 1969, California was the first state to allow for a no-fault divorce. In 2010 (just 12 years ago!) New York became the last state to allow for a no-fault divorce.
Ohio’s version of a no-fault divorce is incompatibility. Ohio has 9 other grounds on which it may grant a divorce:
If you want to know more about the fascinating history and the divorce colony, check out this book - The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American Frontier, by April White.
Sunni DiNicola is an Partner at Lardiere McNair DiNicola & Stonebrook, Ltd., LPA. To read more about our firm, please visit lawyerscolumbusohio.com.
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