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Turning Points Blog

A family law blog about tying and untying knots and other common threads


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What is no-fault divorce?

Posted November 2009. Filed under Divorce & Dissolution

Technically, Ohio law does not use the term ‘no-fault’. But, in a practical sense, most divorces are no-fault. That means you and your spouse agree that you are incompatible and/or that you have voluntarily lived separately more than one year. You also agree that neither of you is to blame for the situation. Dissolutions, by the way, are always no-fault. They’re lumped into the general category of no-fault divorces where people can dissolve their marriages without giving any reason at all.

Even if you feel your spouse is to blame and you have strong grounds for divorce, no-fault maintains privacy as you end your marriage. It keeps the details between you and your spouse, which may be better for your children and for your own sense of dignity.

A no-fault divorce usually means that the parties sign a written separation agreement outlining the disposition of all property and debts, if and who will pay spousal support, and the future parenting of minor children. In a dissolution, as opposed to an uncontested divorce, the two parties must appear in court to testify that they want the court to end their marriage in accordance with their agreement.

Does ‘no-fault’ mean you give away your ability to contest issues? Not at all. You can actively pursue all matters involving property, support and children. If things change, you can change your mind and revise your complaint to add a fault. ‘No-fault’ is simply the best place to start.

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