It is not easy when couples find themselves at a critical juncture when deciding to dissolve their marriage. Imagine being married for a decade and then reaching a point where your relationship is no longer sustainable.
You might have met significant marital difficulties over the years. However, considering the time you spent together, you never wanted to afflict any additional harm on each other. This brings you to a situation wherein you must decide on the most appropriate path for your divorce.
No-fault grounds: Uncontested divorce
Ohio recognizes “incompatibility” as a common no-fault ground for divorce. This legal context does not assign blame to either spouse. Instead, it acknowledges that significant differences have irreparably damaged the marriage. The breakdown of the marital relationship is attributed to these irreconcilable differences.
Opting for a no-fault divorce under this ground offers a less adversarial. It also suggests a more cooperative process. This may be a better option if both parties aim to separate amicably.
Fault grounds: Contested divorce
Ohio also recognizes “fault” grounds for divorce. These grounds are based on specific marital misconduct, such as:
- Adultery: If one spouse can prove that the other engaged in extramarital affairs, it can be grounds for divorce. However, gathering evidence and presenting it in court can be challenging.
- Extreme cruelty: This can include situations where physical, emotional or psychological abuse makes it impossible to live together.
- Willful absence: This can be a reason if one spouse has been willfully absent for a year without communication or support.
There are other fault-based reasons that Ohio law recognizes. This may include habitual drunkenness, bigamy and imprisonment.
Choosing fault-based grounds can make the divorce process more contentious and may involve presenting evidence and witnesses in court. It is often chosen when one party believes they can get a greater share of marital property or better custody arrangements. It may entail presenting evidence and witnesses in court, potentially escalating emotional stress and legal costs.
Choosing the right path
The decision between contested and uncontested divorce should align with the specific dynamics of the relationship. If you prefer an amicable separation, settling through an uncontested divorce would be better. If the priority leans towards what you can get after the divorce, discussing the legal aspects you wish to emphasize with a divorce attorney would be best. Doing so can help you navigate these options while protecting your rights and interests.