Get an Understanding of Your Legal Rights Under Ohio Divorce Laws

Ohio Divorce Laws

Ohio’s nickname is the “Buckeye State,” named after the dark brown nut that comes from a buckeye tree and looks a lot like the eye of a deer.  

Carrying a buckeye is supposed to bring good luck. 

If your marriage is going through a patch of bad luck, you should know the divorce laws in Ohio.

1. Ohio Divorce Laws – Adultery

Ohio still has old “fault” grounds for divorce.  Ohio divorce laws on adultery include bigamy, willful absence for a year, adultery, fraudulent contact, gross neglect of duty, habitual drunkenness, and incompatibility. 

Until recent decades, any person seeking to get a divorce would have to prove that their spouse committed one of these wrongful acts.

2. Ohio Divorce Laws – Abandonment

People sometimes want to seek a divorce because their spouse abandoned them.  

In Ohio, the closest ground for divorce would be “willful absence of the adverse party for one year.”  In other words, Ohio divorce laws on abandonment state that you can get a divorce if your spouse has abandoned you for a year.  

That said, most people today will choose to seek a “no-fault” divorce. A ‘no-fault’ divorce requires no proof that the other spouse did anything wrong. Instead, in Ohio, the spouses simply have to both state that their marriage suffers from “incompatibility.”  

If one spouse denies the couple is incompatible, then the court will grant a divorce for a spouse that can prove the spouses have lived separately for one year.

3. Ohio Divorce Laws – Alimony

State of Ohio divorce laws on alimony allows a judge to award a “reasonable” amount of alimony to either party. 

This is an order for one spouse to make ongoing payments to the other spouse in order to help one spouse keep up a reasonable standard of living.  The classic example is a housewife who has made her husband’s career possible but may have limited ability to make money on her own now.  

Alimony is based on kind of an old-fashioned idea that a husband must always care for the mother of his children, and alimony is falling out of style in modern times.

4. Ohio Divorce Laws – Spousal Support

The Ohio state divorce laws use the term “spousal support” instead of “alimony” but it means the same thing.  

Divorce laws in Ohio property division

Ohio Divorce Laws - Property Division

During a divorce, courts generally resolve two very important issues. 

The first relates to children. 

The court must look at what is in the best interest of the child and make sure that the child or children have an arrangement for where they will live. One parent might have to make child support payments to the other as well, based on a calculation that considers where the child is living and how much each parent makes.

The other big issue is dividing the couple’s property. 

According to the clauses mentioned under property division laws in Ohio, the courts will have to add up all the assets a couple accumulated, with the exception of things like inheritances, and then the court will “equitably” divide this marital property.  

As a practical matter, the courts will pretty much always divide things equally. That said, courts may give a larger share to one spouse if there is a special reason.  If one spouse gambles away a bunch of the couple’s money, then his or her share might be reduced, for example. 


Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?

If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.

Take Course