Grounds for Divorce in Ohio

To end your marriage officially, you need to name at least one or, if necessary, several grounds for divorce in Ohio. From this article, you can learn about the main reasons for divorce and dissolution of marriage and the top reason for divorce couples tend to claim within the state.

We will consider all possible grounds for divorce in Ohio and name the most common reason for divorce. In addition, we will analyze whether biblical grounds for divorce in Ohio are recognized as legal and if the reason for marriage dissolution can affect its result.

Legal Grounds for Divorce in Ohio

There are 11 legal grounds for divorce in Ohio that include both no-fault and fault-based reasons. To file for a no-fault dissolution of marriage, you can name one of the following legal reasons for divorce:

  1. It means that irreconcilable differences have arisen between the parties, and they can no longer continue cohabitation.
  2. Residing separately for one year. If you and your spouse have not lived together for at least 12 months, this can also serve as grounds for divorce.

According to OH ST § 3105.01, fault-based legal grounds for divorce in Ohio are:

  1. Habitual drunkenness. Either spouse abuses alcohol or drugs.
  2. One of the parties already had a husband or wife at the time of marriage.
  3. Abandonment for one year or more. Either party left the other for more than 1 year and did not return home.
  4. One of the spouses entered into sexual relations with another person who is not their husband or wife.
  5. At the time of filing the complaint for divorce, either party was imprisoned in a correctional institution at the state or federal level.
  6. Neglect of duty. One of the spouses does not provide the other with help or financial support despite the opportunity to do so.
  7. Cruel treatment. One of the parties is a victim of abusive behavior or moral or physical violence.
  8. One of the spouses was forced into marriage, or important information was withheld from them at the time of marriage registration.
  9. Obtaining an out-of-state divorce by either spouse when the other one is still considered married and not released from marital obligations.

Legal grounds for divorce based on fault must be proven by witness statements or other evidence.

Mixed Divorce State

Since Ohio recognizes both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce, it is a mixed divorce state.

The biggest reasons for divorce that are most often stated by spouses are no-fault grounds, such as incompatibility and living without cohabitation for a year. These reasons mean that parties do not have to blame each other for the fact that their marriage broke up. Cases initiated due to such reasons are typically less stressful and take less time to finalize.

If, in the parties’ opinion, the behavior of one of them led to the divorce, they can indicate it in the complaint. The most common reason for divorce based on fault is quite hard to define. Anyway, they are more complicated and usually require spouses to hire lawyers, look for evidence, involve other experts, etc.

If you do not insist that your marriage broke down due to the actions of your spouse and can agree with the other party on divorce terms on your own, you can file for dissolution of marriage, which involves a simplified procedure. Such a move will allow you to avoid numerous court hearings and high expenses on lawyers, detectives, and other specialists.

No-Fault Divorce in Ohio

The answer to the question, “Is Ohio a no-fault state for divorce?” is affirmative because you do not have to prove that the actions of your spouse led to the marriage breakdown. As a result, you can file for no-fault divorce in Ohio, citing incompatibility or separate living for 1 year as the reason for your marriage dissolution.

Stating no-fault Ohio grounds for divorce may have a positive effect on the course of the divorce process:

  1. You don’t need to spend time and money looking for photos and video materials or any other evidence that would prove that your spouse cheated on you or improperly performed marital duties.
  2. If you and your partner do not have disputed marriage termination issues left, you can prepare and file for divorce yourself without hiring a lawyer.
  3. You will have a chance to maintain friendly relations with your future ex-spouse, which is especially important if minor children are involved.

In most cases, whatever the reason stated by the plaintiff in the petition is, it will not significantly impact the court’s final judgment. The judges are not likely to punish one of the parties with higher alimony or a disproportionate division of property, no matter if you file for fault-based or no-fault divorce in Ohio.

Still, no wrongdoing can be tolerated or neglected, especially if it entails domestic violence or fraud. Therefore, you should inform the court about such misconduct by stating it as a fault-based reason for divorce, even if it means your case will be longer, more complicated, and more expensive.

If you file for an uncontested, no-fault divorce, you don’t even need to provide any of the common reasons for divorce. You can file a joint petition for dissolution of marriage, in which you will inform the court that you were able to agree on all the divorce issues on your own. In such a case, you can obtain a divorce within 90 days of submitting a petition to the court, provided the judge approves your settlement agreement during the first trial.

Religious Reasons for Divorce in Ohio

Religious reasons for divorce in Ohio are not recognized by current legislation and cannot be specified in a complaint for divorce. However, if you are a deeply religious person and are concerned about the question, “What are the biblical grounds for divorce you can use?”, some of the reasons for divorce within the state can be interpreted as based on scripture. We are talking about fault-based grounds for divorce, which include the following:

  1. Adultery.
  2. Fraud.
  3. Abandonment.
  4. Gross neglect of duty.
  5. Bigamy.
  6. Moral or physical abuse.

Religion does not support divorce but does not prohibit it, especially if you have a valid biblical reason for divorce that concerns the safety of your life or moral and physical health; no illegal or abusive behavior can or should be justified. The Bible sees marriage as an important and responsible union in which both parties must respect and support each other.

Answering the question, “What are the grounds for divorce for people who believe in God?”, it should be mentioned that they coincide with most grounds based on fault. Although religious reasons for divorce in Ohio are not specified in the Ohio Code, it does not mean that you cannot divorce if you feel unsafe or disrespected.


Since Ohio is a mixed divorce state, spouses most often state incompatibility as a reason for a no-fault divorce.

Infidelity is one of the fault-based grounds for divorce within the state.

Sexless marriage itself is not specified in the current legislation as a reason for divorce.

Constant verbal abuse can be equated to extreme cruelty, which is one of the grounds for divorce based on fault.

You can state abandonment as a basis for your divorce, provided your spouse has left you for 1 year or more.

Emotional and physical abuse can be recognized as reasons for divorce under extreme cruelty grounds.

If financial infidelity manifests itself in the fact that your spouse does not support you financially against the ability to do so, it can serve as a reason for divorce as a gross neglect of duty.

A one-time adultery, as well as a long affair, is a legal reason for marriage dissolution.

You cannot state the fact you do not love your spouse as the reason for divorce. However, if you both decided to divorce and agreed on all child-related and property division terms independently, you can file for dissolution of marriage without explaining what exactly led to the breakdown of your marital relationship.

If smoking is unrelated to drug use, you cannot state it as grounds for divorce.

Chronic alcohol abuse is one of the fault-based grounds for divorce within the state.