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What is fault divorce in Ohio law? (Part 2)

When a person in Dayton seeks to end his or her marriage, it is not very common for his or her spouse to try to refuse. After all, when one partner has decided they want out of a marriage and has taken steps towards a divorce, reconciling may be an option, but trying to fight the divorce filing itself in order to keep the marriage from ending usually makes little sense.

One exception, however, is in a fault-based divorce filing. As discussed previously, a fault-based divorce filing will need to allege grounds like infidelity, alcohol or drug abuse, abandonment or similar actions that can have consequences for the spouse who is the subject. Or perhaps both spouses are filing fault divorces and asking a judge to rule. In these cases, it may be necessary to defend oneself in court.

When adultery is alleged, one can argue that it was done openly, with both partners' knowledge and consent -- this defense is called connivance. Or one could retort that one's spouse was also engaged in adultery or any other conduct that is the basis for the fault divorce, known as the recrimination defense. The condonation defense argues that the conduct was forgiven and that the couple had moved on from it together.

One can also argue that one engaged in the conduct because the other spouse lead them to do so. Consider a case where one spouse's alcohol abuse leads the other spouse to leave the home. If the alcoholic spouse then sues for divorce based on abandonment, the provocation defense would point to the alcohol use in defense.

It's not always a simple matter to defend against a fault divorce, and it may require witness testimony as to who engaged in what conduct. A legal professional can help a spouse to assess whether a defense is viable or appropriate based on the situation.

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

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