Avvo, an online legal services marketplace, estimates that there are two divorces every minute in the United States. In 2011, there were 67,606 divorces in the state of Ohio alone. Though the numbers show that divorces occur all the time, going through one can be an overwhelming and life-altering decision for anyone.
Fault vs. No-Fault Divorces
A no-fault divorce, or a divorce that doesn’t require one spouse to prove marital misconduct from the other, is an option in every state in America. No-fault divorces were first introduced in California in 1970 and slowly passed legislation across the United States over the span of 40 years. While 17 states only offer no-fault divorces, many states give married couples the option of filing for a fault or a no-fault divorce. Ohio is one of those states.
If you and your spouse wish to file a no-fault divorce, you must either:
- Voluntarily live apart for at least one year
- Cite mutual incompatibility as the reason for the divorce
A no-fault divorce typically provides a sense of privacy for each spouse since neither one is being blamed for the divorce in a public court. No-fault divorces also tend to be less expensive and take less time since fault does not have to be proven.
Conversely, a fault divorce occurs when one spouse believes the other spouse did something that caused the marriage to fail. According to the Ohio State Bar Association, one of the following scenarios needs to be proven in order to file a fault divorce:
- Willful absence for more than one year
- Extreme cruelty
- Habitual drunkenness
- Gross neglect of duty
- Fraudulent contract
- Imprisonment in a state or federal penal institution
- Procuring a divorce outside Ohio
While a quick read through your options may shed some light on the right path for you and your spouse, don’t feel that you need to make this decision before approaching an attorney. A divorce lawyer can help you weigh the pros and cons of each approach so that you can make big this life decision with confidence.