Divorce or Dissolution in Ohio: Which is Right for You?
Both divorce and dissolution end with a legal divorce, but the two processes are a little different.
There are two different methods in Ohio to end a marriage. One is called a dissolution and the other is called a divorce. Whichever route you choose, you are still legally divorced when the process is over. The difference is the path you take to get there.
Dissolution Requires Complete Agreement by Both Parties
A dissolution of marriage can be filed only when both parties are in agreement as to all aspects of the divorce, including all issues pertaining to property division, support and all matters involving children.
A complete agreement must be prepared prior to the initial filing which encompasses all of these issues. This agreement is then filed as part of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage which starts the whole process in motion. A hearing is then scheduled by the court six to seven weeks after filing where the court converts the parties respective agreements into a final court order and the marriage is ended. Both parties must attend the hearing for dissolution to be granted.
When and Why Dissolutions are Best
Dissolutions are most effective when the parties are in agreement or are close to agreeing in all divorce related issues. The court filing fees are less, and attorney involvement, more importantly, attorney fees can be significantly less. The divorce is granted quickly and the parties can often maintain a certain level of amicability which is often desired, especially when there are children in the marriage.
Divorce For Those Couples Who Cannot Come to an Agreement
Not everyone who wants to get a divorce, however, can agree on everything with their future ex-spouse. In fact, disagreement on various levels is often a big factor leading to the end of the marriage in the first place. Fear not, though, the law does not condemn you to stay married forever if you cannot come to such an agreement. When this is the case, the marriage can be ended through the filing of a divorce.
Divorce is Adversarial in Nature
Divorce is technically an adversarial process. It begins with one spouse filing an action against the other. When necessary, restraining orders and temporary support orders can be filed to keep the parties functioning and help maintain the status quo while the case is pending.
A process known as "discovery" comes into play where the parties exchange documents and information between each other to learn the full extent of income, assets, liabilities and other important factors that need to be addressed. The court still gives the parties ample opportunity to resolve their differences through the scheduling of a series of pre-trial hearings and the overwhelming majority of cases do resolve themselves through this process.
If all else fails, however, the filing of a divorce allows a court to ultimately schedule a trial where the court hears evidence and issues an order deciding all issues.
Which is Best for Your Situation?
It all depends on the particulars of your situation as to what process is best for you. On it's face, dissolution is certainly the way to go if you are really in agreement and both spouses are psychologically ready to end the marriage. It is not uncommon though, for parties to say they want a dissolution when, in fact, the only thing they are really in agreement about is the fact that they want a divorce. When this happens, the filing of a divorce as opposed to a dissolution becomes almost inevitable.
It is also not uncommon to have a situation where, even though an agreement may be easy to come by, one of the spouses does not want the marriage to end and procrastinates during the process making filing difficult to impossible. The filing of a divorce can be very helpful in this instance to help the struggling spouse come to the realization that the marriage is coming to an end. The divorce process, when this occurs, can often be very swift once the psychological resistance factor has been softened.
Divorce Need Not Be Lengthy and Expensive
Please remember, though, that even if a divorce has to be filed this does not mean you will have to be in court for years and spend several thousands of dollars in legal fees. You will always be given an opportunity by the court to still work your case out on your own. If you and your lawyer are prepared you and the other side is at least half-way cooperative (which unfortunately is not always the case) you should be able to achieve a satisfactory resolution within a reasonable period of time that does not break your budget.
To learn more, see our section the divorce process.