Various jurisdictions have differing reasons for which they will grant divorces. Many years ago. divorces were granted only if some “fault” were involved. This led to fraudulent claims of adultery where the husband and wife would ‘set up’ a situation which made it look as though one of them was committing adultery and then the other person would “catch them” (usually by way of a hired photographer).
As time went on, at least under U.S. law, marriages could be terminated by Dissolutions (irreconcilable difference—in Ohio) or divorce (incompatibility – if admitted—and living apart without cohabitation for a year—both Ohio grounds).
Recently, in England, after forty years of marriage, a sixty-eight-year-old woman sued her eighty-year-old husband for divorce, based upon the ground that she was “unhappy.” Her husband did not agree to the divorce and the divorce court, in England, refused to grant the divorce. The Supreme Court, in England, upheld the decision.
There has been discussion in England for years, regarding the need, perceived by some, to institute “no-fault” divorce grounds. It would appear, to this writer, that there is a “no-fault” ground—except it takes five years to perfect the ground.
Grounds for divorce in England are presently as follows:
- Unreasonable behavior
- You have lived apart for more than two years and both agree to the divorce
- You have lived apart for at least five years, even if your husband or wife disagrees
Note the difference, in England, where people can divorce after living apart for more than two years, if they agree to a divorce but, if they do not agree, then they must live separate and apart for over five years. The comparable time element, under Ohio law, is “over one year, without cohabitation.” (“Without cohabitation, seems to be ignored though, in Ohio, as a portion of the requirement—at least in this writer’s experience). Keep in mind though, that we are talking “divorce” here and not dissolution. In Ohio, a couple can secure a dissolution of marriage if they petition the court for a dissolution and they both agree that they have irreconcilable differences.
The Supreme Court, in England, unanimously rejected this Wife’s appeal, meaning that she must remain married until 2020 since she separated from her husband in 2015. The Supreme Court properly pointed out that it must follow and administer the law and that, if there were going to be a change, the change would have to come from the legislative arm of the government—the parliament.
As stated, at the beginning of this note, various jurisdictions have differing reasons for granting of divorces. The “reasons” or “grounds” for granting of divorces are set by statute or law (such as the law with which the courts were working in England). Here, in the United States, each state has its own law or laws regarding divorce or dissolution of marriage or termination of marriage and some states even have long waiting periods (starting with the filing of an action for divorce) after which (but not before which) a divorce can be granted. If it is possible to bring a divorce action in more than one state, a potential divorce plaintiff would do well to consult with knowledgeable attorneys in both states (or “all” states) before deciding where to initiate the divorce action.
The potential differences in divorce laws, from state to state, here in the United States, should make it obvious that consultation with a knowledgeable attorney from all potential “divorce states” is or should be a necessary step. Note that moving to another state may subject one to completely different divorce laws (residency and/or domiciliary time periods, etc.) from what had existed in the state of residence before the move and moving may make one lose the ability to file in their “former” state. Moving to another country will most definitely create a whole new set of issues and considerations.
Attorney William Geary practices solely Family Law in Ohio and is admitted to the Ohio Courts, the Federal Court for the Southern District of Ohio and the Supreme Court of the United States.www.columbusfamilylawyer.com/