Baron Law LLC

Should I get a Dissolution or Divorce?

If you’re thinking of separating from your spouse, you should know the difference between a dissolution and divorce.  In Ohio, knowing the difference can save you both time and money depending on the circumstances.    In addition, understanding the differences will alleviate stress and confusion in an inherently difficult time.

So, what is the difference between a dissolution and divorce? Generally, a husband or wife will file for divorce with the expectation that there will be a battle over children, money, and property.  In Ohio, a husband or wife may file a complaint for divorce in the domestic relations division of the local common pleas court, or if there is no domestic relations division, in the general division of the common pleas court.  When filing for divorce, the plaintiff must allege, and must later prove, one or more of the following legal grounds for divorce:

  • adultery;
  • gross neglect of duty (e.g., failure to support the other spouse);
  • one of the spouses was already married to another person at the time of their marriage to the second spouse (bigamy);
  • willful absence of the spouse from the plaintiff’s home for a continuous one-year period preceding the filing of the divorce case;
  • extreme cruelty;
  • fraudulent contract (fraudulent misrepresentations or promises made to the other party before the parties’ marriage);
  • habitual drunkenness;
  • imprisonment of the other spouse;
  • the parties have for one year, without interruption, lived separate and apart without cohabitation (no-fault divorce grounds); or
  • incompatibility of the husband and wife, if alleged by one spouse in the divorce complaint and not denied by the other spouse (another type of no-fault divorce).

It’s imperative to understand that Ohio is a “no fault” state.  Even if a plaintiff proves one of the above, it generally will not help in the outcome of the case.  For example, even if a spouse was proved to be cheating, Ohio courts typically will not award more money to the non-cheating spouse because of the “no fault” status.   Instead, money and property are distributed based on a number of factors including length of marriage, financial support, contribution, liquidity, liability, and more.  Finally, in Ohio, there are no jury divorce trials. Divorce cases are either settled by agreement of the parties or tried before a trial judge or magistrate.

In addition to the legal requirements above, it’s important to consider the practical aspects of filing for a divorce in Cleveland, Ohio.   If your spouse wants to remain married, a divorce might be a more favorable option because it starts the process immediately with the court.  In comparison, if both parties want to separate, a dissolution might be a better option because it attenuates the inherent litigiousness filing for divorce often brings.

So how is a dissolution much different from a divorce in Ohio?  In a practical sense, a dissolution is filed when both spouses mutually agree that they want to separate.  In addition, a dissolution is generally filed when both parties agree on child custody, spousal support, and asset distribution.

From a procedural standpoint, unlike a divorce, fault grounds are not at issue as described above.  In Cleveland, Ohio (and all Ohio cities), a dissolution petition is not filed with the court until the parties have reached an agreement on all the issues that must be addressed in a divorce matter.  However, designation of a residential parent, parental rights, visitation, child support, spousal support, division of property, payment of debts, and payment of attorney fees are always considered in either a dissolution or divorce.

As you can see, there are numerous factors to consider when thinking about divorce and dissolution.   Baron Law LLC has provided this blog for educational purposes only and it should not be considered legal advice.  Some of the information provided above can be found by visiting the Ohio State Bar Association.   If you are thinking about getting divorced and would like legal representation, contact Dan Baron at Baron Law LLC today.  Call for a free consultation at 216-573-3723.