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Divorce, Dissolution or Legal Separation in Ohio

How to determine what is the right choice in your difficult choice to end your marriage.


A divorce is typically an adversarial proceeding where one party files a complaint for divorce alleging the grounds for ending the marriage. The other party is served with a complaint and has twenty-eight days to answer the complaint and allege a counterclaim for divorce.


Grounds for Divorce in Ohio

The court may grant divorces for the following causes:

ORC 3105.01

(A) Either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage from which the divorce is sought;

(B) Willful absence of the adverse party for one year;

(C) Adultery;

(D) Extreme cruelty;

(E) Fraudulent contract;

(F) Any gross neglect of duty;

(G) Habitual drunkenness;

(H) Imprisonment of the adverse party in a state or federal correctional institution at the time of filing the complaint;

(I) Procurement of a divorce outside this state, by a husband or wife, by virtue of which the party who procured it is released from the obligations of the marriage, while those obligations remain binding upon the other party;

(J) On the application of either party, when husband and wife have, without interruption for one year, lived separate and apart without cohabitation;

(K) Incompatibility, unless denied by either party.


Dissolution is a way to terminate the marriage by agreement, with no fault-grounds necessary.   The Parties can simply be incompatible or have lived apart for one year or more. However, both parties must agree to all of the terms of a separation agreement and parenting plan if minor children are involved. The separation agreement divides all assets and liabilities. The parenting plan discusses all matters related to the minor children of the marriage, including custody, visitation and support.

Grounds for dissolution

There are no at fault-grounds for a dissolution because the parties have agreed upon every aspect of the termination of the marriage. A dissolution is a quicker and must less expensive alternative to divorce.

Legal Separation

A legal separation is a court order outlining that the husband and wife will remain married, but have decided to live separately. The court may issue orders dividing the assets and liabilities of the parties, including allocating parental rights and responsibilities of any minor children.



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