August 26, 2019

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Ohio Divorce

Cleveland Law Firms

Some states use the terms “dissolution of marriage” and divorce interchangeably. In Ohio, there are some differences between the two, but both accomplish legally ending the marriage. You must live in Ohio for at least six months before you can file for divorce or dissolution of marriage.

Dissolution of Marriage

Dissolution of marriage is for couples who agree to end the marriage and have agreed upon the terms and signed a separation agreement resolving property division, spousal support, child custody and child support. There is a waiting period of 30 days, and your case must be heard within 90 days. There is no need to prove grounds for dissolution of marriage.


A divorce, in Ohio, is a lawsuit in which the court is asked to decide terms such as property division, spousal support, and child custody.

Grounds for no-fault divorce in Ohio are:

  • Incompatibility
  • Living separate and apart with no cohabitation for at least one year without interruption

Grounds for fault divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Failure to provide financial support
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • False representations or promises made before the marriage
  • Willful absence from the home for at least one year without interruption
  • Imprisonment

Legal Separation

Legal separation does not end a marriage, but resolves issues of property division, support, and child custody. You do not have to live in Ohio for a certain amount of time before filing for legal separation, and can have a legal separation converted to a divorce at a later date.

Some couples choose legal separation instead of divorce for religious reasons or to maintain some of the legal benefits of marriage including health coverage and time accrued toward Social Security benefits.

Distribution of Property

In general, marital property is divided equally between spouses in Ohio divorce, but the court has some discretion as long as it can justify a decision to award more to one spouse than the other.

Marital property is property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage, except for gifts and personal injury awards.

The court may award one spouse more of the marital property or take from the other spouse’s separate property in cases of financial misconduct.

Spousal Support

Alimony is referred to as spousal support in Ohio. Spousal support is granted if the court believes it is fair and reasonable after property division has been determined.