Dissolution vs. Divorce in Ohio: What Are the Pros and Cons?
Married couples in Ohio who are considering a breakup have two legal options: divorce or dissolution. While both result in ending the marriage, the processes are very different. There are benefits and drawbacks to each, which depend on the particular circumstances of the couple involved.
Dissolution is a more amicable, less time-consuming and less expensive option because it is premised on the parties agreeing and working together. Neither spouse needs to allege a ground for divorce. Instead, the spouses decide that their marriage is no longer viable and they work together to draft a separation agreement that covers issues like division of property and spousal support. It can also cover child support and a shared parenting plan. The spouses then jointly file a petition for dissolution with the court, together with the agreement. Once the court confirms that the agreement is fair and equitable, that the best interests of the couple’s children are protected and that there are no outstanding issues, the dissolution of the marriage is granted.
Achieving the benefits of a dissolution requires that the spouses be on good terms and not be at odds over financial or parenting issues. For couples with significant differences, divorce may be the only option. One spouse must file a complaint alleging particular grounds for divorce as set forth in an Ohio statute. These can be fault-based grounds like adultery, cruelty or abandonment. However, divorces are commonly based on no-fault grounds, such as incompatibility or the couple having lived apart for at least one year.
An advantage of divorce is that it allows a spouse to use the court discovery process to find out if the other spouse is not fully disclosing their assets or debts. Each spouse is legally required to file a financial disclosure affidavit, but if one spouse suspects the other is hiding information, he or she can use interrogatories, subpoenas, depositions and other tools to get an accurate picture. The court can order the division of marital property and the payment of spousal support based on an analysis of the couple’s resources. The court can also order child support as well as legal custody and parenting arrangements. Couples have the opportunity to seek resolution of disputes, including through voluntary or court-ordered mediation. However, if a settlement is not reached, the court can order hearings that can decide certain issues, which can help bring the case to conclusion.
An experienced divorce attorney can advise you on the best option for your situation and guide you through all stages of whichever path you choose, with the goal of attaining the most desirable post-breakup scenario.
At Mock Law, L.P.A. in Toledo, we provide effective representation to Ohio spouses in dissolution and divorce proceedings. Please call 567-200-3573 or contact us online to set up a free initial consultation.