Divorce or Dissolution: What’s the Difference?

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Divorces and Dissolutions are legal actions to end a marriage in Ohio. There are key differences between the two that can help you decid which method of ending your marriage is best for you. Every situation has a unique set of circumstances and variables that can make a separation complicated. Divorce law can be difficult to navigate on your own due to the high level of stress caused by the emotional toll often found in domestic relations cases, so it is important to start your case with the correct legal decisions.

​Why would I choose a divorce?

Divorce is the option best suited for spouses that are unable to reach an agreement on the terms of separating a marriage – asset and debt division, parental rights, and support. Divorce actions are built to argue your case before a judge, who will be the final decision maker on which spouse receives what in a divorce trial.
Divorce begins with a formal legal complaint filed in your county’s Domestic Relations division. In order to file a Divorce, the filing party,  (Plaintiff), must have lived in Ohio for at least six months and have been a resident of the county where the divorce complaint will be filed for at least 90 days. Per Ohio Law, this complaint must claim, and you must prove, at least one of the grounds for divorce.
Choosing a divorce is often our client’s only option, as their spouse refuses to compromise or engage in any kind of negotiations. Sometimes seeking legal assistance can cause stalled negotiations to restart, but at minimum a lawyer can give you their assessment of what issues you are likely to win.

How long will my divorce take?

Once the complaint is filed, your case will be set for hearing before a magistrate or judge in the Domestic Relations Division of the Common Pleas Court.
Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, divorces are not quick nor easy. Once you file a complaint in Ohio, you must wait 42 days before the final hearing, provided that your soon to be former spouse doesn’t file an answer. How long a divorce will take is dependent on your specific situation, but it is not unusual for a divorce to take six months or longer.

Why would I choose a dissolution?

A dissolution is possible when the married couple agree fully on every issue, both at the beginning of the dissolution and at the end. The petition for dissolution is signed by both spouses, and the spouses can simply list “incompatibility” as the grounds for ending the marriage. This is the most cost-effective method to end a marriage as well as the quickest method, as the final hearing must take place within 90 days of the filing of the petition. While these make a dissolution an attractive option, the catch is that the parties must be in agreement on all issues. Common examples of issues that cause a dissolution to become a divorce are child custody, parenting time, retirement assets, and spousal support. Having an experienced attorney to make sure that you and your spouse have considered all issues before spending the time writing up a dissolution can save you significant time attempting to negotiate only to have it become a divorce anyway.
It is important to note that an attorney can only represent one spouse, even if you agree on all issues. If your spouse has an attorney already, it is always better to have your own attorney review the paperwork to protect your interests as you move forward in your life.

Have someone on your side.

Contact Parks and Meade for a free consultation with Attorney Kelly Parks so he can further explain divorce versus dissolution, evaluate your options based on your unique situation, and give you peace of mind. Call our office at 614-389-1038 to schedule now.

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