divorce in court

Couples seeking a divorce can file for either a no-fault or fault divorce in Ohio. Understanding these options is important for individuals considering ending their marriage. Find out more about which circumstances can apply to your current situation. 

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce

There are two main types of divorce: no-fault divorce and fault divorce. A no-fault divorce is based on “living separate and apart without cohabitation” for a specific period, which is one year. 

Under a no-fault divorce, neither spouse is required to prove fault or wrongdoing on the other spouse’s part. Incompatibility is a no-fault ground for divorce in Ohio, meaning neither party is required to prove fault or wrongdoing on the part of their spouse. Generally, this option refers to a breakdown of the marital relationship due to irreconcilable differences, making it impossible for the couple to continue living together as husband and wife. 

On the other hand, a fault divorce is based on specific grounds or reasons attributing fault or misconduct to one spouse, leading to the marriage breakdown. In a fault divorce, the spouse seeking the divorce must provide evidence to substantiate the alleged fault or misconduct.

Determining Fault in Ohio

Couples can place fault on the other partner for several reasons, such as:


Adultery is the act of one spouse engaging in sexual relations outside the marriage, and it can be referenced as a ground for divorce. Proving adultery can be challenging since most cases require substantial evidence. However, once adultery is established, that can impact the outcome of the divorce proceedings, especially regarding spousal support or property division.


Another ground for divorce is cruelty in the marriage. One spouse must have abused the other in either an emotional or physical manner. Along with these allegations, there needs to be evidence of the abuse. Once a pattern of abuse is established, it can play a role in the court’s decision regarding child custody, spousal support, and property division.

Other Types of Grounds

Along with the above, there are several other types of grounds for divorce in the state, including:

  • Desertion: The ground for divorce applies in cases where one spouse intentionally abandons the other without a valid reason and the abandoned spouse’s consent. This desertion usually involves a lengthy absence and an apparent lack of intention to return.
  • Gross neglect of duty: The ground is applicable in cases where one spouse fails to fulfill crucial marital responsibilities, including providing financial support, contributing to the household, or caring for children. Gross neglect of duty signifies a severe and prolonged failure to fulfill these obligations.
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug addiction: If a spouse exhibits a consistent and extreme dependence on alcohol or drugs, resulting in a substantial inability to carry out their duties, the other spouse is entitled to file for divorce on these grounds.
  • Imprisonment: If a spouse is convicted of a crime and given a prison sentence of significant length, the other spouse may pursue a divorce on the grounds of imprisonment.
  • Living separately for one year: Under Ohio law, divorce can also be granted based on living separately for at least one year. If a couple has been living apart for an uninterrupted period of 12 months or more and neither spouse objects to the separation, this can be recognized as a valid ground for divorce.

Get Assistance for Your Ohio Divorce

Individuals seeking to end their marriage understand the various legal grounds available, whether they choose a no-fault or fault divorce in Ohio. In any situation, you will want to seek the guidance of a family law attorney to navigate the divorce process effectively and ensure that the chosen option aligns with the specific circumstances of your situation. 
If you have any questions, the team at Axelrod Law Office in Lake County, OH, is ready to help. Call our office at (440) 271-8126 or submit a contact form to schedule a free, confidential legal consultation