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Legal Separation in Ohio

Some people believe that if they have moved out of the marital residence and are no longer relying on their spouse for any support that they are legally separated but this is not so in Ohio. In order to obtain a legal separation in Ohio the separation must be approved by the Court. An action for legal separation is still filed in the Domestic Relations Division of the Court of Common Pleas in the appropriate county just like a divorce or dissolution. A legal separation in Ohio does not terminate the marriage, but does deal with all aspects of the marriage as if it were being terminated.

Why File for a Legal Separation

Legal SeparationSpouses may have several reasons for wanting a legal separation instead of a divorce or dissolution. Religious beliefs are a common reason for a spouse wanting a legal separation instead of a divorce or dissolution. Another common reason is for medical insurance purposes. If insurance is the reason for a legal separation, it is important to first check with your insurance company as some are treating legal separations similar to divorces.

Legal Separation Process

Filing for legal separation is similar to filing for a divorce and many of the grounds for legal separation are the same including incompatibility, adultery, willful absence for more than one year, extreme cruelty, habitual drunkenness, and gross neglect of duty. The terms of legal separation can also be agreed upon, like a dissolution, or hearings can be held and the Court can decide all related issues. Depending on whether the parties can agree, a legal separation can be relatively quick or take just as long as a divorce.

A final order granting a legal separation will dispose of all marital issues just like in a divorce. If children are involved, child support and visitation will be addressed in the final order but may be later modified if the Court retains jurisdiction and proper circumstances exist. A final order regarding property division cannot be modified unless both parties agree to the modification.

If you are interested in filing for legal separation, contact a licensed Ohio attorney.