How Does Adultery Affect Divorce in Ohio?

How Does Adultery Affect Divorce in Ohio?

People choose to get divorced for a variety of reasons. When one spouse commits adultery, many couples choose to end their marriage through divorce or dissolution of marriage.

If you or your spouse engaged in adultery and are considering divorce, you may be wondering how adultery will impact the divorce process. After reading this post, you should contact the divorce and dissolution of marriage attorneys at RKPT to discuss your situation and how we can help.

Do You Need to Specify “Grounds” for Seeking a Divorce?

In Ohio, you can seek to end your marriage through divorce or dissolution of marriage. While both of these processes result in the termination of the marriage, dissolution of a marriage does not require that either party specify grounds (a legal reason) for the dissolution. If you choose to seek a divorce, the person requesting the divorce must show the court that there is a reason to end the marriage.

Ohio recognizes the following reasons as fault-based grounds for divorce:

  • Willful absence for more than one-year
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Gross neglect of duty
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Imprisonment of the other spouse

If you choose to file for divorce on fault-based grounds, you are claiming that your spouse did something to cause the breakdown of your marriage. You will need to prove your allegations by presenting evidence of your spouse’s misconduct. This often leads to a longer, more contentious legal process.

If you wish to choose a less contentious way to end your marriage, you may wish to file for a dissolution of marriage, or cite one of the following “no-fault” grounds for divorce:

  • Living separately for more than one-year
  • Incompatibility

In most cases, choosing the least contentious reason to end your marriage will result in less conflict and less expense.

Does Adultery Affect Spousal Support Payments?

Regardless of which route you choose, the court may order spousal support payments (sometimes known as “alimony”).

Ohio does not have specific guidelines for calculating spousal support payments, but Ohio Revised Code §3105.18 specifies the factors the court can consider when deciding spousal support payments and includes “any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable.” Under this prong, the court may, but is not required to consider the conduct of each party when determining spousal support. Thus, there is no guarantee that adultery will have any impact on the divorce or award of spousal support. In fact, it is extremely unlikely that it will have such an impact.

Will Adultery Impact Child Custody or Support Payments?

When it comes to child custody and child support payments, Ohio law is clear that the court cannot consider marital misconduct. Instead, the court will follow the child support guidelines schedule which calculates child support based on the number of children a couple has and the parents’ incomes.

When making child custody decisions, the court will focus on the best interests of the children. Marital misconduct is not one of the factors to be considered.

Thus, adultery will not play a role in determining child custody or child support payments unless the adultery would put the child in a dangerous or unhealthy situation that endangers the health or well-being of the child.

Contact RKPT for Domestic Relations Help

If you are considering a divorce or dissolution of marriage, the domestic relations attorneys at RKPT can help. Whether your questions are about grounds for divorce or how to pursue a dissolution of marriage, our attorneys can offer advice and legal representation, guide you through this difficult time, and help protect your financial future for you and your family.

We invite you to learn more about our domestic relations and family law practice by contacting us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help. From our offices in Cincinnati and Blue Ash, we serve people throughout Ohio and the Midwest and are dedicated to helping our clients and their families make well-informed decisions for the future.

Categories: Divorce