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What is fault divorce in Ohio law? (Part 1)

Let's take a closer look at a subject raised in a recent post here on our blog. The subject is the "fault divorce" in Ohio law. While we briefly outlined the major differences between no-fault and fault divorce, some readers may be wondering more about fault divorce itself: what are the grounds for fault divorce? What if both spouses allege fault? What can you do if your spouse alleges fault in your divorce?

According to the Ohio Bar, the grounds for seeking a fault divorce in our state include infidelity (as previously discussed) as well as severe cruelty and consistent alcohol abuse. One may also seek a fault divorce from a spouse who has been sentenced to serve time in prison, or one who intentionally leaves his or her partner for a year or more. Other fault grounds are also available, including fraudulent contract and gross neglect of duty. Fault grounds, it can be seen, cover a potentially broad swath of scenarios.

Fault may not lie necessarily with one partner alone in a divorce. There is nothing preventing both spouses from alleging fault grounds as the basis for a divorce. One might seek a fault divorce based on infidelity, for example, the other for alcohol abuse. In such a situation, the court will examine both arguments and decide which party bears greater fault and which less, granting the divorce to the party least at fault.

While it's unusual to try to argue against a fault divorce, the above represents one possible scenario in which it could be necessary. We'll take a look in a follow-up post at some possible legal arguments one can make in defense of oneself in a fault divorce case. The information is provided as general background on fault divorce only, and is not intended as specific legal advice.

Source: FindLaw, "An Overview of No Fault and Fault Divorce Law," accessed on March 9, 2018

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