Divorce vs. Dissolution

A dissolution proceeding contemplates a complete settlement of all property disputes, all support issues (child and spousal), and all custody issues (also known as “parental rights and responsibilities”). A dissolution cannot be used if any, even just one (1), of the above issues are unresolved by the parties. In a divorce, legal separation, or annulment action, the court may be called on to resolve one or any number of the above issues. In a contested divorce, the debate typical relates to spousal support, property division, or parenting matters. In a dissolution, all of the aforementioned matters must be resolved and agreed-upon in advance of the judicial proceedings being initiated. These agreed-upon terms are detailed in a document called a “Separation Agreement.”

The legal effect of a divorce and a dissolution is the exact same. In both, the marriage is terminated.

In a divorce action, it is often necessary that one party alleges that the other party was at fault. These allegations are the “grounds” for divorce. Examples of these grounds for divorce in Ohio include, but are not limited to, adultery, extreme cruelty, and habitual drunkenness. One spouse making these allegations against the other spouse often has a negative effect and often causes problems in negotiations. In a dissolution, this hostility is minimized, although not always eliminated. The spirit of cooperation usually attendant with a dissolution may continue after the dissolution is finalized, thus possibly avoiding post-decree problems regarding parental rights, support, and visitation.

The dissolution process is also more expedient than the divorce process. In actions for divorce, rules require that at least forty-two (42) days elapse from service of process until the hearing on the divorce complaint. A dissolution, on the other hand, may be heard by the Court after just thirty (30) days have elapsed from the filing of the action. Furthermore, in a contested divorce, proceedings may take several months, or even years, to finalize. In contrast, the maximum time for a dissolution to finalize is ninety (90) days.

The dissolution requires that both husband and wife appear before the Court at the final dissolution hearing. In the event that a party is unavailable or unwilling to attend, there can be no dissolution. Divorce may be the only option if one of the parties is unable or unwilling to appear in court.

At any time after the filing of a petition for dissolution prior to a final decree, either party may convert the action to a divorce by filing a motion that includes a complaint for divorce.

You can rely on the attorneys of Baldwin Valley Law, LLC to guide you through difficult divorce and family law matters. To discuss the specifics of your divorce or family law circumstances with one of our attorneys, please call (937) 436-0699 or e-mail us to schedule a complimentary initial appointment. Our office is conveniently located south of Dayton in Centerville, Ohio.