Some people may mistakenly use the term “divorce” to refer to a dissolution of marriage, and vice versa. However, while the end result is the same, the processes involved in each are very different from one another.

An Ohio couple cannot get divorced unless one spouse petition the court for it. To do this, the complaining spouse must identify lawful reasons for the divorce, or fault grounds. Then the case has to go to court for litigation.

In a dissolution of marriage, there is no litigation and no need to identify any fault grounds. For this reason, people in Ohio sometimes refer to marriage dissolution as “uncontested divorce” or “no-fault divorce.” Rather than litigation, dissolution of marriage involves negotiation between spouses to reach an agreement on matters such as property division, child support, parental rights and other issues that arise during a split between spouses. Once the parties reach consensus on all of these matters, they file a petition for dissolution of marriage. It is only at this point that the court becomes involved in the dissolution process. The court holds a hearing within 30 to 90 days of the filing date. At the hearing, the parties involved must testify to the following:

  • Wish to dissolve the marriage
  • Satisfaction with the negotiated agreement
  • Voluntary signature of the agreement
  • Full disclosure of all liabilities and assets

Dissolution of marriage has several benefits over divorce. It allows the parties to resolve the matter quickly and move on with their lives, whereas a divorce can draw out for months or even years. It helps to minimize conflict, which can have a negative effect on everyone, including the children of the relationship. It gives spouses control over decisions that the court would make in a divorce and spares the cost of litigation. Because it does not require the spouses to expose personal information to the court, it allows each party to maintain a sense of privacy.