Legal Separation in Ohio
In Ohio, married couples generally have the following legal ways to change or end their marital relationship: divorce, annulment, dissolution, and separation. A legal separation addresses most of the issues addressed in a divorce. However, unlike a divorce, it does not end a marriage. The court allows the parties to live separately while they still remain married.
When Should I Opt For a Legal Separation?
A legal separation addresses most of the issues dealt with during a divorce: child custody, child support, visitation rights, alimony, and property division. However, it will not end the marriage which in effect would mean that there is some hope left for the relationship between the spouses. A married couple may choose a legal separation in the following circumstances:
- The married couple has children and they are not ready for a divorce.
- The married couple needs some time and space to figure it out.
- Religious reasons.
- Continuation of medical insurance coverage.
- Financial reasons including taxes and social security.
Legal Grounds for a Legal Separation in Ohio
Under Ohio law, a legal separation may be granted by the court after a petition is filed on one of the following grounds:
- Extreme cruelty or abuse
- One spouse being willfully absent from the marriage for one year
- Drug addiction or habitual drunkenness
- The spouses have lived separately for one year without interruption and there was no cohabitation (sexual relationship)
- Incarceration of a spouse at the time of filing the complaint
One important thing to note here is that either spouse cannot remarry during a legal separation. While they can date, they still remain married to their legally separated spouse and are not allowed to marry another person under law.
How Long Does a Legal Separation Last?
Once granted by the court, a legal separation lasts for an indefinite time period. It can only be overturned by a court.
However, one must know that mere separate living of spouses does not constitute a legal separation. A verbal agreement between spouses without any court procedure is generally not binding or legally enforceable. One must file a petition for legal separation in court to get actually separated from their spouse in the eyes of law.
If you are considering getting a legal separation from your spouse and want to know more the process and your rights, contact an experienced family law attorney at Mark Ziccarelli Law today.