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Differences Between No-Fault and Fault-Based Divorce

Divorce is rarely easy for most couples. However, the type of separation can sometimes complicate the process. No fault and fault-based divorces are two different methods of determining how the couple separates. In a fault divorce, the spouse filing the divorce claims the other is responsible, while in a no-fault divorce, no blame is placed on either party.

Ohio is one state that uses fault grounds in divorce. Fault grounds are legally “acceptable” reasons why one spouse decides to divorce another. Fault grounds include adultery, willful absence for more than one year, extreme cruelty, habitual drunkenness, fraudulent contract, imprisonment, gross neglect of duty, and procuring a divorce outside the state if the Ohio spouse is still bound to the marriage. Divorce on fault grounds is granted only if at least one witness supports the alleged fault.

However, couples that don’t meet those situations or who don’t want to place blame on their spouse for the separation can also file a no-fault divorce. This type of divorce tends to be more amicable or at least creates less potential conflict for each spouse. There are two types of no-fault divorces—incompatibility and voluntarily living separately for at least one year.

Depending on the case, fault divorces can sometimes work to the advantage of the person filing for divorce. For example, if a spouse wishes to gain full custody of the children in a divorce, he or she could claim the other parent was adulterous during the marriage. A judge might look unfavorably on the unfaithful parent and assume he or she is unfit to be a full-time parent. However, each case is a little different.

If you’re curious about your particular divorce case, talk to one of our skilled Dayton divorce lawyers. L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC is dedicated to providing families with the most compassionate and seasoned representation during this emotionally draining time. Let us see what we can do for you and your family.

Contact us at (937) 685-7006 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation today.


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