In Ohio, Should I File for a Divorce or Dissolution?

Ohio law is unique in that it includes provisions for both "divorce" and "dissolution" of a marriage. So, if you are considering bringing your marriage to an end, which option should you choose?

The Differences Between Dissolution and Divorce

The first step toward making this decision is to understand the differences between dissolution and divorce. A dissolution is what many people refer to as a "no-fault divorce." In a dissolution, the spouses amicably terminate their marriage through the process of negotiating a settlement agreement that covers the distribution of their marital assets and the establishment of custody rights and financial support obligations.

A divorce, on the other hand, is a contested proceeding that involves an allegation of fault. This could be adultery, gross neglect, or any of a number of other specifically-enumerated grounds for divorce. We previously covered many of the fault-based grounds for divorce, as well as some of the other differences between divorces and dissolutions, in: Understanding Divorce, Dissolution, and Legal Separation in Ohio.

So, Which Option Should I Choose?

While everyone's circumstances are unique (and, as a result, you cannot truly make an informed decision without first speaking to a qualified divorce attorney), in many situations a no-fault dissolution (or "no-fault divorce") will be the best option for ending your marriage in Ohio. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • A dissolution typically takes less time than a contested divorce. Even if it takes you and your spouse several sessions to come to terms (or if you need the assistance of a mediator or decide to use the collaborative method), this is still typically going to be far less expensive than taking your differences to trial.
  • Since a no-fault dissolution saves time, by the same token it also saves money. The less time it takes to finalize your divorce, the less you will have to spend on legal fees and fees for other professional services.
  • When you go through a contested divorce, a judge will ultimately determine your rights with regard to the division of your marital assets, financial support, and child custody (if applicable). In a dissolution, on the other hand, you and your spouse will negotiate terms that work for both of you. This allows you to have significantly more control over the outcome of the process.
  • Finally, if you and your spouse have shared children, pursuing a dissolution instead of a contested divorce can help you keep the proceedings civil and maintain a working relationship once your marriage is over.

On the other hand, in certain scenarios a contested divorce will be your best (and maybe your only) option. This can be the case if:

  • Your spouse is unwilling to consent to a dissolution;
  • Your spouse is unwilling to be reasonable and negotiate in good faith;
  • Despite your best efforts, you and your spouse are unable to come to terms; or,
  • You are concerned about your health and safety or the health and safety of your children.

In these types of situations, it may be worthwhile to consider your options regarding a legal separation or annulment as well.

Discuss Your Options with a Cleveland Divorce Attorney

If you would like more information about the differences between a dissolution and a divorce in Ohio, or if you would like to speak with an attorney about your options, contact Laubacher & Co. to arrange a free, confidential consultation. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney at our offices in Cleveland, OH, call 440-462-1882 or get in touch online today.

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