When you choose to end your marriage, you will have many choices to make. This begins with deciding whether to file for dissolution or divorce.
The Ohio State Bar Association explains the difference between divorce and dissolution is your separation agreement status.
Divorce is the act of suing your spouse to end the marriage. As with any lawsuit, you present evidence and details to the court, and the court makes a final decision. In the case of ending your marriage, you sue for divorce when you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement outside of court. In other words, you are unable to create a separation agreement with help from a judge. You must file for divorce if there are any points within your agreement upon which you do not agree.
You can still come to an agreement and settle the divorce. However, you would still have a divorce and not a dissolution since you already filed your case.
Dissolution occurs when you do reach a settlement. You and your spouse agree on all points related to separating your lives, including spousal support, property division and child custody and support. You still must go before the court since marriage is a legal binding of two parties, but the hearing should be rather easy to get through. The judge will review your agreement and sign off on it as long as everything is good with it.
Both a divorce and dissolution end the same way. They permanently end your marriage. It is just the process that differs somewhat.