Dissolution in Richland & Knox County: A Good Alternative to Divorce
Deciding to end a marriage is difficult, but divorce is not the only option available to residents of Richland & Knox County, Ohio. State law allows for the dissolution of a marriage, which differs from a divorce in many ways and allows you and your estranged spouse to control the process and outcome. If you can come to an agreement as to how to parent any minor children and divide assets and debts, using a dissolution can be less costly, time-consuming and emotionally charged than a divorce proceeding.
The primary difference between a dissolution and a divorce is that the resolution of all marital issues is handled between the spouses, rather than through attorneys. You must be able to come to agreement on everything, including property division, parenting and spousal support. All such issues are spelled out in a written separation agreement. Both spouses must sign the document, which is then filed with the court, along with a petition for the dissolution of the marriage.
Even if you and your spouse can come to an agreement on the issues involved in ending your marriage, it is still a good idea to seek legal counsel before signing and filing the separation agreement. You will want to be sure that you haven’t overlooked any important matters, that both parties are being treated fairly and that the agreement complies with all Ohio state laws. You may even want to have an attorney prepare the court filings, to ensure that they comply with the court’s requirements.
Once all required documents are filed with the domestic relations clerk of the court for Richland & Knox County, a hearing will be set no sooner than 30 days after filing but not later than 90 days. Both spouses must attend this hearing, at which the judge will review the separation agreement and dissolution petition. While judges typically approve these petitions, they do have the discretion to reject them if they feel both parties are not being treated fairly. Once the judge signs the petition, your marriage is legally ended.
If both spouses cannot agree to the resolution of all marital issues and do not both participate in the required steps of a dissolution, the only alternative is to petition for divorce. There are many circumstances that could lead to an uncontested – or no-fault – divorce under Ohio law, but the process is more expensive and takes longer than a dissolution.
The end of a marriage for any couple is a challenging time, but it can be made easier by choosing a dissolution rather than a divorce. Even if you need the help of a third party to reach an agreement, the process is still easier on all parties and allows you to determine the best resolution for your situation.
The law team of Spaulding & Kitzler has assisted hundreds of couples with finalizing their dissolution. We have the staff and knowledge to ensure that this separation goes as smooth as possible. Please contact us today at our Mansfield or Mount Vernon, Ohio location to learn more!