3 Ways to Terminate a Marriage in Ohio

July 9, 2014

Ways to Terminate a Marriage in Ohio

Marriage is a personal and spiritual relationship, but when you get married, you also enter into a legal contract. If you’re having relationship troubles and your marriage is in question, you might be wondering exactly what your options are when it comes to bringing the marriage to an end. There are three ways to terminate a marriage in Ohio: divorce, dissolution, and legal separation.




1. Divorce

Divorce is a civil lawsuit to end a marriage. The court only enters a judgment of divorce if legal grounds for divorce exist. Some grounds for divorce include the following:

  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Incompatibility
  • Living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year
  • Habitual drunkenness

Generally speaking, there must be at least one corroborating witness at your divorce hearing to support your testimony regarding the grounds of your divorce. The court will address issues like the grounds for termination of the marriage, property division, child custody, child and spousal support, and division of liabilities. You can commence a divorce by filling a “complaint” for divorce. The spouse that files for divorce is called the plaintiff, while the other spouse is called the defendant. The defendant then files an “answer”, either admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint.

2. Dissolution

Dissolution terminates a marriage by the agreement of both parties and without a determination of fault. A spouse can initiate the dissolution of a marriage by filing a petition for dissolution with a separation agreement attached. In order to obtain the dissolution of marriage, both spouses must agree on the terms of the marriage’s termination and all terms and conditions of the separation agreement and both must appear at the hearing in court.

Dissolution is not adversarial, so there are no “grounds” for dissolution. That’s why it’s usually faster and less expensive to obtain dissolution of marriage than a divorce. Before filing for the dissolution of a marriage, both spouses must sign a separation agreement.

3. Legal separation

Legal separation is an enforceable court order. Although legal separation doesn’t legally end a marriage, it does allow you to issue orders regarding property division, spousal support, child support, and parental rights and responsibilities. A legal separation doesn’t require you to live separately from your spouse, but many couples see it as a formalized way to spend some time apart from each other and work on their marriage before they think seriously about divorce. It is sometimes used when religious beliefs preclude divorce.

Another way to terminate or void a marriage is through annulment. An annulment decree declares that a marriage is legally invalid because of a defect that existed at the time the two parties entered into marriage. Grounds for annulment include an underage spouse, bigamy (a prior valid marriage with a surviving spouse), and consent to marry obtained by force or fraud. You must be able to prove one of the grounds for annulment in Ohio if you want to have your marriage annulled.

If you’re in need of an experienced divorce attorney in Columbus, OH, get in touch with Edward F. Whipps & Associates. Our firm has over 30 years of experience in family law and a proven track record in obtaining needed financial support for clients and their children, dividing family property equitably, and reducing the negative emotional impact of divorce on children. You can arrange a mutually convenient time for a consultation with Edward F. Whipps & Associates by calling our Columbus office at (614) 398-4182, our Dublin office at (614) 461-6007, or toll-free at (877) 367-6544.




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