What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Ohio?

Are you unhappy in your marriage? Are you thinking about seeking a divorce? You’re probably wondering whether you have grounds for divorce. Here’s a look at what counts as grounds for divorce and how working with a divorce lawyer for women in Columbus, Ohio can help.

Divorce Lawyer for Women in Columbus, Ohio: What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Ohio?

There are endless reasons why someone might not be happy in their marriage. A long time ago, it was difficult for women to seek out a divorce if their marriage was loveless or abusive. Women may have had to stay in unhealthy and unsafe marriages with no other recourse.

Today, however, divorce is an option. If your marriage is no longer happy or fulfilling for you, or you are in an abusive situation, you can seek a divorce. Each state has its own distinct divorce laws. In Ohio, these are the grounds for divorce.


When you were seeking a divorce, you used to have to prove that something was wrong with their marriage to get your divorce. But the reality is that not all marriages have something deeply wrong with them. The couple might just have decided that they are no longer in love and that their lives would improve if the marriage ended.

Today, you can use incompatibility as grounds for a divorce. Essentially, you’re saying that you and your spouse don’t get along anymore, and the marriage should end for this reason. This is also called a no-fault divorce, meaning neither of you did anything wrong in the marriage. If you are using this as your reason for divorce, it’s a good idea to find another reason as well. This is because it’s easy for your spouse to deny incompatibility and prevent you from getting divorced.

You Are No Longer Cohabitating

This is another no-fault ground for divorce. During a marriage, the spouses will usually live together. However, if you have decided to separate, then most likely you will cease cohabitating and live separately and apart.

If you have been living separately from each other, then you can use this as a reason to get divorced. You must have been living apart from each other completely for at least one year; and that means not having any time spent living together at all. Even if you’ve spent one night together, this can no longer be considered grounds for divorce.

Your Spouse Has Been Willfully Absent

Another reason that you can use for your divorce is if your spouse has been absent. This means that your spouse has left your home of their own accord and has not returned. For this to be considered grounds for divorce, your spouse must have been gone for at least one year.

Your Spouse Had Another Living Spouse at the Time of Your Marriage

It is illegal to get married if you or your spouse already has another living spouse. If this is your situation, then you can use this as a means to get a divorce.

It’s possible that your spouse was still married when they married you and lied to you about it, which can be extremely traumatic and difficult. If your spouse was already married when you entered into your own marriage, then a judge will be able to grant you a divorce.


If your spouse cheats on you, this can be incredibly heartbreaking and hard to deal with. You can use adultery as grounds for divorce if you find out that your spouse has not been faithful during your marriage.

For something to be considered adultery, there needs to be a physical sexual act between one of the spouses in a marriage and a third party. Certain types of intimacy will not count as adultery. For example, if your spouse is having phone sex with someone else, that wouldn’t count as adultery since there is no physical intimacy.

Your Spouse Is Guilty of a Fraudulent Contract

Another reason you can cite for divorce is if your spouse is guilty of a fraudulent contract. Legally, marriage is recognized as a contract. That means that if you can prove that your spouse was fraudulent in some form, you can use this as a reason for divorce.

If you entered into the marriage under fraudulent circumstances, a judge will be able to grant you a divorce. Perhaps your spouse hid important information from you that affects the marriage or threatened or coerced you into the marriage. This all counts as fraudulent.

Habitual Drunkenness

Enjoying a few drinks every once in a while with friends, or having a glass of wine while you watch a movie at the end of a long day is fun and normal behavior. But drinking excessively can cause a lot of issues. If your spouse is drunk often, this can put a huge strain on you.

In Ohio, you can use habitual drunkenness as well as excessive drug use as grounds for divorce. Essentially, you will need to prove that your spouse’s excessive drinking is affecting their ability to attend to their marital duties.

Neglect of Duty

In a marriage, both spouses are responsible for certain duties to support each other and the marriage. If your spouse is not attending to these duties, then that’s grounds for divorce. However, it cannot be simple or minor neglect. Instead, you will need to prove that the neglect is severe.

There are a few examples of what can count as gross neglect of duty. For instance, if your spouse is not supporting you and the family financially or is lying to you about finances, that’s a neglect of duty. Talking to a qualified family lawyer will help you determine if your spouse is demonstrating gross neglect of duty.

Extreme Cruelty

If you are in an unsafe or abusive situation, this is grounds for divorce. There are many marriages in the US where one spouse is abusive to the other. This type of abuse can lead to lasting trauma, leaving you feeling isolated and anxious.

Extreme cruelty refers to your spouse engaging in acts that affect your mental health and happiness to an extent that the marriage is no longer tolerable or safe for you. There are many different kinds of behavior that can count as cruelty, including verbal and physical abuse.

Will Your Grounds for Divorce Affect How Things Are Decided?

While you are determining what grounds you have for divorce, you might be wondering whether the grounds you file for divorce will affect how things like property division and custody get decided. It’s natural to be worried about this, especially if kids are involved.

However, the reason that you get a divorce will have no bearing on how things are decided. Your property, debt, and custody will be divided the same way regardless of the grounds of divorce. Whether you have fault or no-fault reasons for divorce, everything will be split the same way.

Going through a divorce is a challenging process, but working with a qualified lawyer will make things much easier. Our team is ready to help you understand if you have grounds for divorce and make sure that the process goes smoothly. Give us a call today at WSM Law to get the legal help you need.