When a couple decides to end a marriage, there are a few options available to bring an end to the relationship. Two of these are divorce and marital dissolution.

Before choosing which path to pursue, couples should understand what the differences are so they can make the best decision for their situation.

Marital dissolution

According to the Ohio State Bar Association, a marital dissolution, or dissolution of marriage, occurs when both spouses agree to end the relationship. There does not have to be any specific reason, and neither side needs to prove the need or desire for the dissolution.

The spouses decide on an agreement regarding issues, such as property, debt and asset distribution; child custody; living arrangements and spousal support. Once they both sign the agreement, they file the petition, which the court will review and make it a court order if there are no issues. In the case of child custody, the judge may decide to make a different ruling than the parents did if the agreement is not in the best interest of the child.

Divorce

In a divorce, the court makes the decisions about property, child custody and spousal support. With a divorce, both parties do not have to agree to end the marriage. One party files a complaint based off a specific reason.

According to the Ohio.gov Ohio Laws and Rules, some causes of divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Neglect of duty or willful absence of one party for one year
  • Chronic drunkenness or extreme cruelty
  • Imprisonment
  • Incompatibility

In order to file either a divorce or dissolution, the couple or plaintiff must reside in the state for a minimum of six months before filing may occur.