Should you and your spouse decide to end your marriage, a dissolution of marriage is an amicable, straightforward method of moving on with your life. This process involves creating an agreement that addresses all relevant aspects of the marriage in a mutually beneficial manner. The dissolution process is generally faster and less expensive than a divorce, assuming both parties are in agreement.
Although dissolution can be a less difficult process, issues can still arise. Dissolutions can be challenging because they involve emotionally charged and sometimes complex issues, such as spousal support, child custody and support, and the division of marital assets and debt. To ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible, it is best to have an experienced attorney who can expertly guide you through the process.
Our team of northeast Ohio dissolution of marriage attorneys at Slater & Zurz LLP has been helping couples resolve the issues relating to ending their marriage as well as numerous other family law matters for over 40 years. We understand the process of dissolving a marriage can be emotional, stressful, and at times, overwhelming. We are here to help you through the process so you and your family can move forward into a new chapter in your life. If you and your spouse have decided to part ways and would like to discuss your rights and options with a qualified family law attorney, we welcome you to contact our firm for a free, confidential consultation.
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The Differences Between Dissolution and Divorce
Dissolution and divorce are two processes used to legally end a marriage. The processes are quite different, with both having distinct advantages and disadvantages. To help determine which one is right for your specific situation, it is crucial to understand what both processes entail and the differences between them.
Dissolution of Marriage
When both spouses are in agreement or have few areas of conflict, a dissolution of marriage is likely the best option. Dissolutions are often ideal because they are much easier, quicker, and less expensive than a divorce. This process also allows the parties to come to their own terms relating to the ending of their marriage, which usually results in continued amicable cooperation even after the marriage is dissolved.
The Dissolution of Marriage Process
During the dissolution of marriage process, you and your spouse will file a joint petition requesting the termination of their marriage after meeting two important requirements. First, you must be an Ohio resident for at least six months before filing, and you and your spouse must both agree, in writing, on all terms relating to the termination of your marriage. Once the residency requirement is met, and all terms of the dissolution are agreed upon by both parties, the petition can be filed. A separation agreement showing agreed-upon terms will need to be prepared, signed, and submitted with your initial paperwork. No reason for ending the marriage needs to be given. And unlike most divorces, fault is not a consideration in a dissolution.
Thirty to ninety days after the petition is filed, you and your spouse must attend a final dissolution hearing, where the judge will review your paperwork and likely ask you a few questions before approving your divorce. He or she will ensure there is a fair agreement pertaining to all of the issues relating to the ending of your marriage, such as the division of assets and liabilities, alimony, and child custody and support. If they believe the terms of the agreement are fair, the judge will sign and file a judgment entry for divorce, making the dissolution of marriage an order of the court.
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During the divorce process, the court and not the parties determine the final terms. The court will ultimately decide all relevant matters relating to the ending of a marriage, such as the division of assets and liabilities, alimony, and child custody and support.
Although some divorces will ultimately settle amicably during the process (these are known as “uncontested divorces”), parties who continue to disagree on certain terms will proceed to a trial where the judge will make all final decisions.
When the Divorce Process May Be Necessary
Alternatives to divorce are generally ideal because contested divorces can be costly, lengthy, and time-consuming for the parties involved. However, there are certain circumstances in which a divorce may be necessary. When there are unresolvable disagreements between the two parties or when one or more spouses is not cooperating, a divorce is typically the best option. A divorce may also be necessary when one party wants to end the marriage while the other party does not. It can provide the party who wants to part ways the means to do so, whether or not the other spouse agrees. A divorce may also be pursued when one party believes the other is hiding assets. In these cases, legal tools used in the process known as “discovery” may help to uncover them.
There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing the best option for you and your unique circumstances. For this reason, we highly recommend speaking to one of our knowledgeable attorneys before making any decisions. Our Ohio family law attorneys will review your situation, explain the many ways to approach the termination of a marriage, and determine what option will likely result in the most favorable outcome for both you and your family.
There are several advantages to a dissolution of marriage, such as:
- It is generally less expensive than a traditional divorce.
- A dissolution often takes less time to resolve.
- Only you and your spouse make the decisions relating to the end of your marriage.
- Communication and cooperation are generally maintained during and after the process.
- It typically has a less harmful effect on children.
Addressing issues relating to the end of a marriage can be confusing, even if both parties are cooperating. If you have been married a long time or have minor children together the process can become more complicated. A dissolution of marriage lawyer can help make the process go more smoothly by:
- Advising you of your legal rights
- Identifying issues that need to be addressed
- Drafting and reviewing all necessary documents
- Representing your best interests if a dispute arises
Ohio Dissolution of Marriage Attorneys
The legal team at Slater & Zurz understands the many issues that can arise during the termination of a marriage, even in an amicable dissolution of marriage. We not only know how to quickly and effectively resolve these matters but will do so while protecting your rights and preserving your best interests. Our dedicated and compassionate family law attorneys will also provide guidance and support through the dissolution process and work diligently to ensure the final dissolution judgment is both fair and equitable.
During this time of uncertainty, we know you have many questions and concerns. We are here to explain your rights, discuss the dissolution process and determine if it is the right option based on your specific needs. We invite you to sit down with one of our Ohio dissolution of marriage lawyers and discuss your situation during a free, confidential consultation. You can reach us anytime, day or night, by calling 888.534.4850 or filling out our online contact form.