Ohio Dissolution FAQ: Nine Commonly Asked Questions
What is the difference between a dissolution and a divorce?
In a divorce, the spouses are unable to agree on issues such as child support, property division or visitation.
It is an adversarial proceeding in which one spouse files a lawsuit against the other. These issues are then decided by the court.
In dissolution, the spouses jointly present a petition asking for the court to end their marriage. Before filing, they have reached an agreement on all issues relevant to their marriage and put these issues down in writing on a document known as a Separation Agreement.
Dissolution is often thought of as a “no-fault” divorce, although it is not called that in the state of Ohio.
Only the procedures are different. The result for both is the same, termination of the marriage.
You should also read this great resource on Legal Separation.
Who can file for a dissolution of marriage in Ohio?
To obtain a divorce or dissolution in Ohio, you must live in the state for a minimum of six months before filing. Also, you have to be a resident of the county in which the divorce is filed for a minimum of 90 days.
Ohio does not require that the marriage took place within the state.
Do I need an attorney?
Your need for an attorney depends on your situation. If your divorce is amicable, you and your spouse have no children and few valuable assets, then you may be able to do the divorce yourself. Even so, it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer to make sure that you don’t agree with something you will later regret.
What is the procedure for dissolution in Ohio?
Before filing a joint petition for dissolution, the parties must have a written separation agreement that provides for issues like spousal support and division of property. If minor children are part of the dissolution, then the couple must also submit a parenting plan.
These documents should be attached to the joint petition for dissolution, which then needs to be signed by both parties and filed with the court.
After the petition is filed, a hearing date is set by the court 30 to 90 days after the filing of the petition. At the time of the hearing, both parties must be present in court. At the hearing, a judge or magistrate will review the separation and parenting agreements.
Ask if both spouses entered into the agreements voluntarily. Make sure both spouses are satisfied with the terms of the agreement. Make sure that both parties still want to end the marriage.
If the court is satisfied that the couple agrees on the terms and desire to end their marriage, it will grant a dissolution as well as make the separation agreement and parenting plan a court order.
How long does a dissolution take?
Since an Ohio dissolution is a non-adversarial process, a dissolution is usually quicker than a divorce since each spouse agrees ahead of time on the terms of their divorce. In Ohio, the dissolution is scheduled for a final hearing between 30 and 90 days of the filing date.
How much does a dissolution cost in Ohio?
While every situation is different, a dissolution is usually less expensive than a divorce. Many counties even charge less for dissolution paperwork than they do for divorce paperwork. On the other hand, an adversarial divorce is often expensive.
Not only are there court and attorney costs, but you may have to go to the expense of hiring outside experts such as accountants and appraisers. The more adversarial the proceeding and the more issues that the spouses disagree on, the longer and more expensive a divorce will be.
What are the benefits of a dissolution?
A dissolution provides the exact legal effect as a divorce--the marital relationship is terminated. Getting a dissolution instead of an adversarial divorce avoids conflict, gives you control over the outcome and allows more flexibility in arrangements concerning property and children.
As stated above, a dissolution is usually quicker and less expensive than a divorce.
How is child custody handled in a dissolution?
Ohio child custody laws require that spouses submit a parenting plan regarding any minor children. This plan is essentially a set of parenting guidelines that both spouses agree on.
Parenting plans usually include agreements concerning child support, parenting time, tax and financial responsibilities and health insurance. If the spouses cannot agree on all of these issues then they will have to file instead for divorce meaning important decisions regarding their children will be decided by the court.
Who shouldn’t get a dissolution?
A divorce may be necessary if one party wants to end the marriage but the other party doesn’t want to. A divorce allows the person who wants to end the relationship to do so, even if the other party doesn’t agree.
Even when both spouses want to end the marriage, if they still are unable to agree on the terms, they will most likely have to file for a divorce.
A spouse who has been abused or believes that the other spouse may be hiding assets can use the court to issue temporary orders during a divorce proceeding. These orders can control finances, custody and parenting time and prevent one spouse from harassing the other.
It also allows the court to issue subpoenas to uncover hidden assets. It’s important to remember that these orders a temporary.
A final decision on these matters will not be determined by the court until the final divorce hearing.
BONUS: List of documents you'll need for your dissolution...
The Documents You'll Need to Collect for Dissolution in Ohio
The benefits of having an Ohio divorce attorney help you with this process are two-fold: for starters, your attorney has experience in cases like yours, so you won't have to worry about failing to follow divorce laws in Ohio.
Secondly, your Ohio divorce attorney knows how to get the many documents you'll need for marriage dissolution in Ohio and can assist throughout this process.
Some of the many documents you will work together to gather to adhere to divorce laws in Ohio include:
- marriage certificate
- prenuptial agreements
- a separation agreement (if it is already written)
- birth certificates (yours and your children's)
- powers of attorney
- paycheck stubs (from the entire year)
- personal injury or Workers' Comp income
- bank statements
- investment and retirement documents (401K, IRA, stocks, bonds, etc.)
- Social Security statements (if applicable);
- credit card statements
- home mortgage paperwork
- car loans
- other loans (student loans, equity loans, unsecured loans
personal loans, etc.)
- insurance bills
- tax information
- childcare receipts
- other bills (utilities, cable bills, etc.)
- membership or union dues\
- healthcare receipts
While it may seem tempting to let your soon-to-be-ex fend for himself or herself and make them gather the same documents alone, your Ohio divorce attorney will advise you that it will only benefit your case to be cordial in this regard.
Have questions about dissolution in Ohio? Need legal advice? Contact Jack's Law Office at (740)369-7567.