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Columbus Divorce and Dissolution FAQs

Columbus Divorce and Dissolution FAQs


In Ohio, there are several ways to terminate a marriage. Those include divorcedissolution and legal separation. “Annulment” does not, technically “terminate” a marriage but instead declares that the marriage essentially never happened.

What is the difference between a Columbus divorce and dissolution?  Divorce, involves “contested” issues or the lack of agreement. If the parties cannot agree on one or all of the issues involved in the termination of a marriage, they submit their issues to the court to decide. Contested issues could include any or all of the normal issues involved in a marital termination, ranging from the jurisdiction of the court, grounds for the divorce, property values and distribution, custody of children, valuation and division of marital retirement assets, allocation of responsibility for debts, and issues of spousal or child support.

In a dissolution, the parties agree with each other on all of the elements needed for the court to grant the dissolution and put their agreement into a separation agreement for the court to approve. The separation agreement deals with all of the issues of separation of property, custody, child support, spousal support, allocation of debts, and division of any marital retirement assets.

In a legal separation, the parties are still married at the end of the proceedings but the court makes orders ranging from the jurisdiction of the court, grounds for the divorce, retirement assets, allocation of responsibility for debts, and issues of spousal or child support. There are a number of reasons people may want to still be “married” but may also want or need a decree of legal separation.


It may be impossible to reach the other party or have them agree to a divorce decree. If the other party must be served with the pleadings by publication (since their location is unknown) the case may have to proceed as “uncontested” so far as the divorce is concerned.


3105.01 Divorce causes.

The court of common pleas may grant divorces for the following causes:

  • (A) Either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage from which the divorce is sought;
  • (B) Willful absence of the adverse party for one year;
  • (C) Adultery;
  • (D) Extreme cruelty;
  • (E) Fraudulent contract;
  • (F) Any gross neglect of duty;
  •  (G) Habitual drunkenness;
  • (H) Imprisonment of the adverse party in a state or federal correctional institution at the time of filing the complaint;
  •  (I) 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;
  • (J) On the application of either party, when husband and wife have, without interruption for one year, lived separate and apart without cohabitation;
  • (K) Incompatibility, unless denied by either party.WHAT ARE THE GROUNDS FOR A DISSOLUTION IN OHIO?WHAT ARE THE GROUNDS FOR ANNULMENT OF A MARRIAGE IN OHIO?A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes existing at the time of the marriage:
  • 3105.31 Causes for annulment.
  • Dissolutions are ‘no-fault” terminations of the marital relationship and require the consent of both parties. The ‘ground’ for dissolutions is “irreconcilable differences.” Note that there are no fault grounds in divorces, also—those being “living apart for more than one year without cohabitation” and also “incompatibility” – if it is pleaded and not denied by either party.
  • Note that there are no- fault grounds in divorces, —those being “living apart for more than one year without cohabitation” and also “incompatibility” – if it is pleaded and not denied by either party.
  • (A) That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was under the age at which persons may be joined in marriage as established by section 3101.01 of the Revised Code, unless after attaining such age such party cohabited with the other as husband or wife;
  • (B) That the former husband or wife of either party was living and the marriage with such former husband or wife was then and still is in force;
  • (C) That either party has been adjudicated to be mentally incompetent, unless such party after being restored to competency cohabited with the other as husband or wife;
  • (D) That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, cohabited with the other as husband or wife;
  • (E) That the consent to the marriage of either party was obtained by force, unless such party afterwards cohabited with the other as husband or wife;
  • (F) That the marriage between the parties was never consummated although otherwise valid.
  • Effective Date: 09-24-1963

The most common strategies for bring a marriage to an end in Central Ohio are Columbus divorce and dissolution petitions.  Attorney Bill Geary has more than 35 years of experience in Columbus divorce and dissolution matters, and is an effective counselor and attorney for those who wish to end a marriage.  We invite you to contact us or call 614-228-1968.