Grounds for Divorce in Ohio, Explained

Grounds for Divorce in Ohio

The end of a marriage can be an unforeseen event, but it is important to know the different ways a marriage can be legally ended in Zanesville, Ohio. Knowing your options and hiring an experienced divorce attorney can help make the process as smooth as possible.

Marriages can be legally ended in one of two ways–divorce or dissolution. A Dissolution is often referred to as “no-fault” separation, where fault grounds are not at issue. In order to obtain a divorce, however, you must allege that your spouse has been at fault under one of the statutory grounds. The different grounds are as follows:


Bigamy is a “fault” ground for divorce because it means that you or your spouse is married without legally ending their previous marriage. In the state of Ohio, bigamy is also considered a crime (misdemeanor).

Willful Desertion

Desertion, which also may be referred to as abandonment, is a divorce ground in many states (including Ohio). When one spouse leaves for one year without the consent of the other, this is considered desertion. The length of time required for divorce may vary from state to state, but in Ohio it is one year before you have grounds for divorce.


When your spouse has engaged in adultery, this can be painful and often times it can lead to divorce. This is considered a “fault ground” to the Court, which means that you or your spouse are saying that the others misconduct led to the divorce filing.

Extreme Cruelty

Cruel and inhuman treatment can mean either physical or mental cruelty and is defined as treatment “that makes it unsafe or improper for the parties to reside together as man and wife”. The difference between this and “incompatibility” is that cruelty deals with abuse, particularly the physical, emotional or financial kind.

Fraudulent Contract

When you enter a marriage with a fraudulent representation by your spouse that affects the essential elements of your marriage, you have sufficient grounds for a divorce in Ohio. This mostly is the result of financial misrepresentation of one spouse, including assets, debts and more.

Gross Neglect of Duty

When it comes to divorce, the definition of neglect is when one spouse fails to uphold the marital duties of mutual respect, fidelity and support. Simple neglect is not enough, it must be severe enough to greatly affect the marriage.

Habitual Drunkenness

According to Ohio court cases, occasional intoxication is not enough to be considered habitual drunkenness. This can be difficult to prove, as unless you have sufficient evidence, it may come down to one person’s word against the other.


When one spouse is in prison for over a year, you have automatic grounds for divorce. According to Ohio law, the person filing for divorce needs to have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing, and also lived in the county the divorce is being filed in for at least three months.


This ground is defined as “procurement of a divorce outside this state, by a husband or wife, by virtue of which the party who procured it is released from the obligations of the marriage, while those obligations remain binding upon the other party”.

Separate Living & Without Cohabitation

If you have lived apart and without cohabitation uninterrupted for at least one year, you have sufficient grounds for a divorce in the state of Ohio.

While divorces are unforeseen and can be an uncomfortable situation, knowing your options can help mitigate some of the potential problems. We have many years of experience as divorce attorneys in Zanesville, Ohio and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to learn the best course of action.