Hartley Law Office, LLC

Hartley Law Office, LLC

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What is the difference between a divorce and a dissolution?

If you determine that ending your marriage is the right choice for your situation, it may be valuable for you to assess your options for this process. In Ohio, you can end your marriage with either a divorce or a dissolution. Although the two processes essentially do the same thing, they represent a different approach you and your spouse can take as you go about ending your marriage.

When is divorce appropriate?

When the actions of one spouse cause the breakdown of a marriage, divorce may be the most appropriate way to legally end the marriage. However, only certain actions are recognized by Ohio courts as grounds for divorce.

Fault-grounds for divorce, include:

  • Adultery
  • Willful absence for over a year
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Gross neglect of duty
  • Fraudulent contract
  • Imprisonment
  • Procurement of divorce in another state while the Ohio spouse is still bound by marriage

Even when none of the fault-based grounds apply to a situation, couples may still choose divorce over dissolution. There are two grounds for divorce couples can use in this instance. If a couple has lived apart for at least a year, that can be listed as a ground for divorce. Alternatively, if both spouses agree that incompatibility caused the breakdown of the marriage, that can be listed as the ground for divorce.

When is dissolution appropriate?

Dissolution is often considered a no-fault divorce. However, it differs from a divorce because a court does not get involved until both spouses have reached an agreement on all areas of concern. This may include child custody, child support, spousal support, division of property and others.

Because a couple must agree on all details before a dissolution can be granted, dissolution tends to work better for couples who can work together or who already agree on most relevant decisions. For couples who can do this, dissolution can save time and money compared to a divorce.

However, if there is distrust between spouses, a divorce may be a better choice even when spouses can work together. This is because, unlike a divorce, a dissolution does not involve the ability to subpoena for information. Instead, both spouses must voluntarily exchange information.

Each marriage is a unique situation. With an understanding all of your options, you will be best equipped to choose the process that is most appropriate for your situation.

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