What are the grounds for divorce in Ohio?

Understanding Grounds for Divorce in Ohio

In Ohio, as in many other states, the law provides specific grounds upon which a divorce can be granted. These grounds are outlined in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) and include both fault-based and no-fault reasons. Understanding these grounds is crucial for anyone considering a divorce in the state, as they can have significant implications on the outcome of divorce proceedings.

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce

Ohio recognizes "no-fault" grounds for divorce, which means that a couple can dissolve their marriage without placing blame on either party. The no-fault grounds include:

No-fault divorces are often less contentious as they do not require proof of wrongdoing by either spouse. For instance, if both parties agree that they are incompatible, they can proceed with a divorce without delving into personal grievances.

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce

Ohio law also provides several fault-based grounds for divorce, which require one spouse to prove that the other spouse's misconduct led to the breakdown of the marriage. The fault-based grounds include:

For example, if one spouse has been willfully absent for over a year, the other spouse may file for divorce on these grounds. These cases often involve more complex legal arguments and can result in a more adversarial process.

Historical Context and Evolution of Divorce Laws in Ohio

The evolution of divorce laws in Ohio reflects changing societal values regarding marriage and personal relationships. Historically, divorces were hard to obtain and required clear evidence of fault. Over time, Ohio, like many states, has recognized that forcing couples to stay legally bound when their marriage is irretrievably broken serves no constructive purpose. Hence, the introduction of no-fault grounds has allowed couples to amicably end their marriages without airing personal issues in court.


When considering a divorce in Ohio, it's essential to understand the legal grounds upon which a divorce can be based. Whether pursuing a no-fault divorce due to incompatibility or living apart, or citing specific fault-based reasons such as adultery or extreme cruelty, knowing these grounds will help navigate the legal process more effectively. As with any legal matter, consulting with a qualified attorney is recommended to ensure that your rights and interests are adequately protected throughout the divorce proceedings.