Ending your marriage is always a highly emotional and challenging matter. However, choosing the option that is best for you, your spouse, and your children can make the process go smoothly and result in a favorable and amicable outcome.
In Ohio, couples wishing to end their marriage have two options; divorce and dissolution of marriage. Below, we will discuss all of your options so you can make an informed decision as to what option will work best for your unique situation.
For over 30 years, our dissolution of marriage lawyers in Cleveland have helped to streamline the process. We assist our clients through every step of the dissolution, ensuring their rights are protected while working hard to get them the resolution that best fits their needs and goals. Whether you are contemplating a divorce or dissolution, we encourage you to reach out to our Cleveland dissolution attorneys today.
Arrange your FREE consultation with a Cleveland dissolution of marriage lawyer by calling (440) 557-2861 or filling out our online form.
Divorce, Dissolution of Marriage, and Legal Separation in Cleveland, Ohio
Under Ohio law, there are three ways a married couple can end or change their marriage; divorce, dissolution of marriage, and legal separation.
A divorce is one of the two ways in Ohio to legally terminate your marriage. The most commonly pursued means of officially ending a marriage, a divorce allows couples to ask the court to make final decisions in divorce-related matters, such as spousal and child support, the division of assets and debts, and child custody and parenting time. Spouses need to have lived in Ohio for at least six months prior to filing and cite one or more “grounds” or reasons for terminating the marriage.
A no-fault dissolution of marriage is a form of uncontested divorce. When a divorce is uncontested, both spouses agree on all matters relating to the ending of their marriage, including property division, debt division, spousal support, child support, custody, and visitation. On the other hand, a contested divorce is one where the parties can’t reach an agreement on all divorce-related matters and must ask a Cleveland domestic relations court to decide on their behalf.
In a legal separation, a couple remains married but lives separately as an alternative to a divorce or dissolution. It does not legally end the marriage as a divorce or dissolution does. Still, it allows the courts to issue an order that addresses asset and debt division, spousal support, child custody, child support, and parenting time. The process steps are very similar to a divorce, and both parties must adhere to the court’s orders.
Couples may choose to seek a legal separation when:
- They are unsure whether to end their marriage officially
- One or both spouses are opposed to divorce for religious or personal reasons
- The couple wishes to maintain benefits, such as tax savings, social security and military benefits, and health insurance
- They want to remain married for the sake of their children
Learn more about a Cleveland dissolution of marriage for FREE by calling (440) 557-2861 today.
The Differences Between an Ohio Divorce and Dissolution
Although the end result is the same (the couple will officially no longer be married), there are some differences between divorce and dissolution.
A divorce is a good option when spouses can’t agree on one or more aspects of the divorce-related decisions. In a divorce, couples allow the courts to make final determinations on any areas of disagreement, but the process can take longer and cost more. A Cleveland, Ohio, divorce also requires spouses to cite one or more reasons for the divorce.
Dissolution of marriage is typically the ideal way to legally end your marriage because it is often much faster, easier, and less costly. There is also no need to prove fault in a dissolution since both spouses agree to dissolve the marriage.
When spouses agree on all of the terms relating to their divorce, there is no need for extensive negotiations, court dates, and legal fees. However, we always recommend having a Cleveland dissolution of marriage lawyer guide you through the process and review all agreements to ensure they represent and protect your best interests.
Choosing Whether to File for Divorce or Dissolution
In simple terms, the key difference between the two comes down to a couple’s ability to agree on the terms of the divorce agreement. If the couple is working together and ultimately agree with the terms, they can pursue a dissolution of marriage. When they can’t agree on one or more divorce-related matters, they will need to seek a divorce and have the courts decide for them.
The Dissolution of Marriage Process in Ohio
The dissolution process takes anywhere from one to three months to complete once you have filed with the courts.
A dissolution begins by working together with your soon-to-be former spouse to work out the details of the dissolution. Again, these are all matters relating to the ending of your marriage, such as:
- Property division
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Child custody
- Parenting time
Once you and your spouse have agreed to all of the terms and have lived in Ohio for at least six months, filing with the Cleveland clerk of court is time. Several forms will need to be filled out and filed, along with your separation agreement (the document detailing the terms listed above.)
Once everything is filed, and the fees have been paid, you must wait at least 30 days for your court hearing. At the hearing, you and your spouse will have to tell the judge you agree to and are satisfied with the separation agreement terms and that you wish to terminate your marriage legally. If the judge approves of the agreement, he or she will sign the dissolution decree, and your marriage will officially be over.
Hiring a Cleveland Dissolution of Marriage Lawyer
Dissolutions are generally a more amicable, easier way to legally end a marriage because you and your spouse are working together to hash out the details of the dissolution. However, we strongly recommend hiring an attorney to help with the process.
When creating your separation agreement, issues that are not in your best interest or those of your children may be agreed to. An experienced attorney can quickly identify any concerns and work for a fair resolution that protects your interests and gets you the resolution you need.
Sometimes, a previously agreed-upon detail becomes contested by you or your spouse. In these cases, having a lawyer can help you quickly and fairly resolve the issue, so you can continue to proceed with dissolution. And should issues remain contested, and you must pursue a divorce, an attorney can skillfully represent you and advocate on your behalf through negotiation and even at trial, if necessary.
Speak to a Cleveland dissolution of marriage attorney for FREE by calling (440) 557-2861 or contacting us online.
Consult with a Top Dissolution of Marriage Lawyer in Cleveland
At Slater & Zurz, we know that choosing to end your marriage can be one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make. This life-altering choice can quickly become frightening and overwhelming, and you might not know where to turn.
We want you to know that you don’t have to go through this difficult experience alone. Our experienced Cleveland Family law attorneys are here to help in any way we can. And with over 100 years of collective experience handling family law matters, such as divorce, dissolution, legal separation, property division, and child custody and support cases, you can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing you have a winning team on your side.
To learn more about your options, we welcome you to reach out to our team of Cleveland divorce lawyers or dissolution of marriage attorneys. Your initial consultation is FREE, and there is absolutely no obligation. To schedule your complimentary meeting, call (440) 557-2861 or fill out our simple online form. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to assist you.