No-fault divorce is a divorce type in which neither spouse must prove that the other party has done something wrong. Ohio courts often grant a no-fault divorce based on incompatibility or living separately and apart without cohabiting for at least one year.
Ohio State only started recognizing no-fault divorces in 1973, thanks to the passage of the Ohio Law Reform Act. Previously, couples could only divorce if one party proved the other had committed a fault, such as adultery, cruelty, or desertion. Since the enactment of the Ohio Law Reform Act, no-fault divorce has become a common way for couples to end their unions.
If you and your spouse are considering a no-fault divorce, the family lawyers at the Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak in Columbus, OH, can make things less stressful for you. We know too well how emotionally complicated a divorce can be, so we provide the expertise and experience you need to navigate these issues.
How is No-Fault Divorce different from Fault Divorce?
No-fault and fault divorces differ in the grounds on which the divorce can be granted. In a fault divorce, one party must prove that the other spouse has committed wrongdoing, such as adultery, cruelty, or abandonment. It is often a challenging and contentious process, as it requires one spouse to prove that the other is at fault for the failure of the marriage.
Conversely, in a no-fault divorce, couples can obtain a divorce simply because they have irreconcilable differences or have been living separately for a certain period. It can make the divorce process amicable, allowing them to end their marriage without blaming each other.
Another significant difference is how property division, spousal support, and child custody get handled. In a fault divorce, the court may consider the reasons for the divorce when making decisions about these issues.
Pros and Cons of No-Fault Divorce
A no-fault divorce has the following pros;
- Minimizes the conflict and bitterness that can arise in fault-based divorces.
- It provides a more cooperative approach to ending a marriage.
- Saves time and money by avoiding lengthy court battles over who is at fault for the marriage breakdown.
- Allows couples to end their marriage without having to air their dirty laundry in court.
- Makes divorce more accessible to those who may not have the resources or ability to prove fault.
On the flip side, there may be downsides to a no-fault divorce, including;
- May make it easier for one spouse to end the marriage against the wishes of the other spouse
- May make it more difficult for the court to determine issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody.
How No-Fault Divorce Affects Children
A no-fault divorce affects children both positively and negatively. For starters, it reduces the conflict and tension between parents, which can minimize the negative impact of divorce on children. It also allows the young ones to maintain relationships with both parents, as neither parent is blamed for the divorce or seen as the bad person.
However, the kids may still feel a sense of loss or abandonment when their parents’ divorce, regardless of their reasons. Like all divorces, the children may struggle to adjust to the changes in their family structure, such as living in two households or having less contact with one parent.
Eligibility for A No-Fault Divorce in Ohio
In Ohio, a couple is eligible for a no-fault divorce if one of the following conditions is met:
- Incompatibility: The couple has experienced irreconcilable differences that have caused the marriage breakdown, and there is no reasonable prospect for reconciliation.
- Living separate and apart: The couple has been living separately without cohabitation for one year.
- Meet residency requirements: At least one spouse must have been a resident of Ohio for at least six months before filing for divorce.
The Process of No-Fault Divorce in Ohio
The following are the general steps to file for a no-fault divorce in Ohio:
- Prepare the necessary documents: The spouse initiating the divorce (the petitioner) must complete and file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
- Attend a preliminary hearing: The court will schedule a preliminary hearing to ensure both parties know their rights and responsibilities and to establish a timeline for the divorce proceedings.
- Work out a settlement agreement: The couple must work out a settlement agreement that addresses issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody and support. If the parties cannot agree, the court may require them to attend mediation or appoint guardian ad litem to represent the interests of any children involved.
- Attend a final hearing: Once the settlement agreement is finalized and signed by both parties, the court will schedule a final hearing to review the agreement and issue a divorce decree.
- File the necessary paperwork: The divorce decree must be filed with the court, and the necessary paperwork completed to transfer property, change names, or make other post-divorce arrangements.
Uncontested vs. Contested No-Fault Divorce
A no-fault divorce can be uncontested or contested, depending on whether the couple agrees to the divorce terms.
An uncontested no-fault divorce occurs when both spouses agree on all the issues related to the divorce, including property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. In this case, the couple can file a joint petition for divorce, a simplified process that can save time and money. If the court approves the agreement, it will issue a divorce decree.
A contested no-fault divorce occurs when the couple cannot agree on one or more of the issues related to the divorce. In this case, one spouse may file a petition for divorce, and the other spouse will be served with a copy of the petition. The non-filing spouse can respond by filing an answer, which may include a counterclaim for divorce. The court will then schedule a hearing to resolve the disputed issue.
Mediation in No-Fault Divorce Columbus Ohio
Mediation is a common method of resolving disputes in divorce cases, including no-fault divorces. It is a voluntary process in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps the couple reach a mutually agreeable resolution to their issues.
Mediation can be a valuable tool in a no-fault divorce, as it can help the couple avoid the expense and emotional toll of a lengthy court battle. During mediation, the couple can work with the mediator to agree on issues such as property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. The mediator does not make decisions for the couple but helps them communicate effectively and explore creative solutions.
If the couple can reach an agreement through mediation, it can be incorporated into the divorce decree and become legally binding. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, they may still need to go to court to have a judge decide the contested issues.
In a no-fault divorce in Ohio, either spouse may be eligible to receive alimony depending on the circumstances of the case.
In Ohio, the court may award alimony to either spouse based on several factors, including:
- The duration of the marriage.
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The earning capacity of each spouse.
- The age, physical, and emotional condition of each spouse.
- The ability of each spouse to earn income.
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage.
- Any other factors that the court deems relevant.
The court may also modify or terminate an alimony award if there is a substantial change in circumstances, such as a change in income or employment.
In a no-fault divorce in Ohio, property division is based on the principle of equitable distribution, so the court will divide the marital property fairly and equitably, but not necessarily equally.
Marital property in Ohio includes all property and assets acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title or account. Marital property may include the family home, real estate, cars, bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, and other assets acquired during the marriage.
Child Custody and Support
In a no-fault divorce in Ohio, child custody and support are determined based on the best interests of the child. There are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make major decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religion. Physical custody refers to where the child resides. The court may award either sole custody or shared custody, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Child support in Ohio is calculated based on the Ohio Child Support Guidelines, which consider the income of both parents, the number of children, and certain expenses such as child care and health insurance.
The court will order the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent to help cover the costs of raising the child. Child support is generally paid until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.
A no-fault divorce Columbus Ohio offers couples a convenient way to separate with minimal conflict. It also reduces the stigma associated with divorce, enabling divorcing couples and their families to maintain healthy relationships in the best interests of their children. With no-fault divorce becoming more prevalent, we may see further changes to Ohio divorce laws and procedures that reflect these shifting attitudes.
A lot will be at stake when you and your spouse decide to divorce, including your children and assets. Whether your no-fault divorce is contested or uncontested, the attorneys at the Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak can help. Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation.
How long does a no-fault divorce take?
Although a no-fault divorce tends to be straightforward, there’s no timescale to it. The process can take anywhere from four to seven months, depending on your circumstances.
Is no-fault divorce available in all states?
All American states allow no-fault divorce, but most still allow couples to divorce on fault-based grounds.
Can I change my mind after filing for a no-fault divorce?
Once the petition is filed and the divorce finalized, Ohio courts can’t un-grant the divorce because the spouses changed their minds.