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Ending a marriage can be a complex and emotional process. In Ohio, couples wanting to end their marriage have two options – divorce or dissolution of marriage.

Both a complaint for divorce and a petition for dissolution of marriage are methods to terminate your relationship, but there are clear differences between the two. Knowing the distinction between them can help you determine which method might work for you.

Terms for divorce

A divorce is a legal petition brought to the court by one of the spouses. It’s the course of action if the parties are unable to agree on the details of the settlement or if the actions of one lead to the breakdown of the marriage.

According to Ohio law, a divorce petition must allege at least one of the following grounds for divorce:

  • Either spouse had a husband or wife at the time of the current marriage
  • Adultery
  • Willful absence of the adverse party for one year
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Fraudulent contract
  • Gross neglect
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Imprisonment of the adverse party at the time of the petition

In divorce, there is typically greater conflict and contention and the emotions of one or both spouses influence the outcome and proceedings. Divorce is often the more costly option as it takes a longer amount of time to settle the case. Additionally, only one of the parties is required to sign the paperwork and only one is required to attend the hearing.

 

Dissolution of marriage

When a couple opts to end their marriage with a dissolution, the spouses file a joint petition to terminate the marriage and agree on the terms of the separation. The parties are in full agreement throughout the process on details such as property division, child support and shared parenting. The emotional element is avoided because it’s a non-confrontational way to end a marriage with a more collaborative approach. It’s also typically more cost effective since the process takes less time.

Dissolution is considered a no-fault way in which to separate because the reasons for a split are not required to be proven in court like they are in divorce. But unlike divorce, both spouses are required to appear at the hearing in a dissolution of marriage case.

 

Keep in mind that in both cases, there is a residential requirement – the petitioners must have lived in Ohio for at least six months.

 

The specifics of your case and the relationship you have with one another will determine whether you opt for divorce or dissolution of marriage to end your relationship. To make the right decision for your case, it’s best to consult with an attorney regarding your best course of action.