My father was briefly married prior to marrying my mother. He doesn't talk about that marriage and all he will say is that he got a Dear John letter from his first wife while he was in Vietnam.
I found online that he was granted a divorce from his first wife on the grounds of "Gross Neglect/Extreme Cruelty." Would the Dear John letter meet the qualifications for Gross Neglect/Extreme Cruelty? If not, what else meets the Gross Neglect/Extreme Cruelty standard in a divorce proceeding ?
Family Law Attorney
The answer to your questions depend on several factors. One of these factors is where and when the divorce was granted. Under today's divorce law, "gross neglect" basically means failing to support the other spouse (which can be broadly interpreted and applied) and "extreme cruelty" does not require an act equivalent to "abuse." Hope this helps!
Beth A. Blackmore
Family Law Attorney
Your question is interesting. The reality is that grounds are required to obtain a divorce. The grounds are set forth in Ohio Law: Section 3105.01 Divorce causes.
The court of common pleas may grant divorces for the following causes:
(A) Either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage from which the divorce is sought;
(B) Willful absence of the adverse party for one year;
(D) Extreme cruelty;
(E) Fraudulent contract;
(F) Any gross neglect of duty;
(G) Habitual drunkenness;
(H) Imprisonment of the adverse party in a state or federal correctional institution at the time of filing the complaint;
(I) Procurement of a divorce outside this state, by a husband or wife, by virtue of which the party who procured it is released from the obligations of the marriage, while those obligations remain binding upon the other party;
(J) On the application of either party, when husband and wife have, without interruption for one year, lived separate and apart without cohabitation;
(K) Incompatibility, unless denied by either party.
Now, that is technical jargon. What does it mean? Well, very little. The state needs a basis to grant the divorce. You cannot be divorced without valid grounds. Someone can contest the grounds and then the Plaintiff would actually need to prove that there was a valid basis for the divorce. This is rare. Most people simply consent to the grounds for divorce.
IF one party files and the other does not answer the complaint for divorce, then an "uncontested" hearing goes forward. The plaintiff needs a witness to testify to grounds. In regards to gross neglect and extreme cruelty, the court is generally happy with "Have you seen Defendant be mean to Plaintiff." They then grant the divorce.
I assume that is what happened in your instance.
Hope that helps.
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