Legal Separation

Why choose a legal separation? Legal separation exists when two people desire to live separately but do not wish to terminate their marriage with a divorce or dissolution. Examples are when the parties need to continue medical insurance coverage, which may or may not be allowed by the policy, religious beliefs, or other personal reasons for not wanting to end the marriage with a divorce or dissolution.

A legal separation may be obtained in Ohio for the following reasons:

  • Either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage from which legal separation is sought
  • Willful absence of the adverse party for one year
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Fraudulent contract
  • Any gross neglect of duty
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Imprisonment in a correctional institution at the time of filing the complaint
  • When the parties have, without interruption for one year, lived separate and apart without cohabitation
  • Incompatibility, unless denied by either party.

How is a legal separation different from a divorce or dissolution? In a legal separation the marriage remains substantially intact whereas in a divorce or dissolution the marriage is terminated. However, this issues addressed by the court in a legal separation are largely the same as those in a divorce or dissolution. These issues include child custody, division of assets, child support, spousal support and payment of debts.