Unilateral no-fault divorce occurs when your spouse forces a divorce on you, though you want to keep your family together and have done nothing grave enough to justify permanent separation or divorce. If your spouse chooses to renege on marital promises, there is nothing you can do to force him or her to be a decent spouse. If you are relying on your spouse to uphold obligations promised in marriage, featured here are lawful actions you can take to ensure those obligations are upheld, as much as possible.
Ohio is not a Pure No-Fault Divorce State
The legislators who enacted the option of no-fault divorce in Ohio were clear about this.
This bill does not call for an easy divorce system similar to California’s “no-fault” divorce. I am opposed to the California system — and let me tell you why. In California, if either spouse wants a divorce — for any reason — or for no reason at all — that spouse gets his or her divorce, with the other marriage partner having no opportunity to contest or defend. … Now that kind of one-sided procedure offends my sense of justice — it took both parties to enter into the marriage, both should be involved in deciding whether to terminate it (Norris 1974)
Representative Alan E. Norris, January 10, 1974.
Remarks by State Rep. Norris on House Floor in Support of his Bill H.B. 233 (read original).
Seek Conciliation Help
Ask the court to order your spouse to participate in conciliation for the purpose of reconciliation. Name your favorite family counselor, clergyman, or other.
A judge can order conciliation meetings (even before anyone files for divorce) : “An order requiring conciliation shall set forth the conciliation procedure and […] may include […] referrals to the conciliation judge as provided in Chapter 3117 […] public or private marriage counselors, […] licensed psychologists, or clergymen.” (ORC 3105.091)
The legislators empowered counties to have conciliation experts on paid staff (ORC 3117). If your spouse refuses to reconcile, a report from the conciliation counselor could show how you are innocent of any charges of extreme cruelty or gross neglect of duty. Template Petition is available on State’s website.
If you are evicted based on trumped up domestic violence charges, you have a right to hearing within seven to ten days.
In accord with the Rules Of Superintendence For The Courts Of Ohio, “ If the Respondent is asked to vacate the home in which you live, there will be a full hearing within 7 business days. Otherwise, a full hearing will be set within 10 business days.” Find what is supposed to occur at the hearing on Page 3 of Form 10.01-A (pdf).
The Outcome Should Depend on Your Situation
Ohio law says couples that are married, “contract towards each other obligations of mutual respect, fidelity, and support” (ORC 3103.01).
Your situation could be any of the following:
You are guilty of extreme cruelty, so your spouse has a lawful basis for the judge to forcibly separate you from your spouse with divorce decree.
You are guilty of gross neglect of duty, so your spouse has a lawful basis for the court to issue a divorce, and prevent you as much as possible from doing more financial harm to your family.
You are NOT guilty of any fault-based ground for divorce and your spouse is choosing to renege on marital obligations; any divorce complaint should be dismissed.
Your spouse lied on your wedding day and never intended to uphold obligations of respect, fidelity and support; you have a lawful basis for a civil annulment based on fraud. ORC 3105.31(D)
Your spouse had serious psychological problems when you were married, making him or her incapable of ever truly consenting to marriage in the first place; so you have a good reason for a civil annulment ( ORC 3105.31(c)mentally incompetent).
The outcomes of court proceedings should vary, depending on your situation. For example, if your spouse has a serious mental problem, that is relevant any child custody plan. If your spouse lied on your wedding day and never intended to respect and support you, then you could be awarded financial damages for all the harm caused. If you are not guilty of any fault-based ground for and your spouse leaves home, your spouse is committing a first degree misdemeanor.
When your spouse files for divorce, the judge is entrusted to uphold the law. If your judge pre-judges every case and decides, without a hearing, that grounds for divorce already exist, your could be ordered to lose everyday access to your children or have your property taken from you. If the judge disregards that marital abandonment is a crime, the judge could assist your spouse in establishing grounds for divorce by ordering you to pay your spouse’ living expenses while your spouse is separated from you. Being separated for a year is ground for divorce.
If your local prosecutor feels that every spouse has the right to renege on marital obligations for any reason whatsoever, your complaint for assistance after your spouse abandoned you, could be ignored.
Your spouse could persuade a divorce judge or a criminal judge, or a jury, that you were guilty of behaviors that were so grave, that you deserve to lose your property and your children, as occurs in divorce or separation with “due” cause. Mary’s Advocates knows one lawyer that said if a husband admits that he once did not take out the trash, a divorce judge could rule that the husband was grossly neglecting his duty.
If the common pleas judges in your county have no hope that any dissatisfied spouse could decide to reconcile with the help of experts, your motion for conciliation could be denied.