You have multiple options for ending your marriage in Ohio. Divorce, dissolution, and legal separation are all recognized by the court as possible avenues you can take. They are all somewhat similar, and they ultimately achieve the same result, but there are a few key differences. Let’s answer some of the questions you may have about what sets these ideas apart.
Divorce is a straightforward concept that you’re probably familiar with. Although most spouses usually reach a settlement of all or most issues in a divorce, a judge determines the issues that are not resolved including matters of finance, property division, and child custody. The two sides often hire attorneys to plead their case and proposition the court to find in their favor on unresolved issues. Divorce is what happens when these agreements cannot be reached by the spouses alone. Simply put, the court ends the marriage and sets rules for the split.
Dissolution, though similar to divorce, is the legal term for when the former spouses can reach these agreements before ever going to court. You may be able to avoid the legal red tape of divorce if you and your spouse keep an open mind in the division of assets, property, debt, and parenting time. A lawyer can assist with these resolutions, so everything is put into a written agreement precisely the way the couple wishes. This can be particularly helpful if emotional flare-ups cause one spouse to change their mind or alter the deal. Most couples begin by attempting a dissolution but find that communication breaks down or they disagree on a fair division. As long as the two spouses can agree, there is no cause to make the court intervene. Therefore, dissolution can save you and your family from steep legal fees.
Unlike divorce and dissolution, legal separation is not an end to the marriage. Instead, the couple goes through most of the steps of divorce but without legally ending the marriage contract. The court will issue orders concerning property division, child support, spousal support, and allocation of parental responsibilities. The spouses live in separate homes but remain married in the eyes of the court. A legal separation is a good option for couples seeking change but also are unsure if the finality of divorce is right for them. Couples will also pick this option to remain covered by their partner’s insurance or for religious reasons.
If you have more questions about divorce, dissolution, or legal separation, call Garretson and Holcomb, LLC at (513) 863-6600