Divorce or Dissolution

Divorce or Dissolution

A divorce or dissolution is the legal termination of a marriage. In Ohio, marriages must be terminated through a petition or complaint filed with the Court. A complaint for divorce is required if both parties cannot agree to the terms ending the marriage and the divorce will become contested. An uncontested divorce or dissolution can be filed if both parties are in agreement to end the marriage and an amicable division of property, child support, child custody and alimony or spousal support can be reached.

Contested Divorce

One party must file a complaint for divorce, if they are unable to agree as to the division of property and debt, allocation of parental rights, child support and spousal support or any other single issue which cannot be agreed upon. A divorce is an adversarial proceeding in court by which one party sues another, seeking the termination of the marriage. A divorce can be on numerous grounds, including: neglect of duty, extreme cruelty, adultery, habitual drunkenness, etc. The most common ground for seeking a divorce arises from incompatibility between the two parties. A contested divorce hearing consists of testimony and the presentation of evidence by both parties and their witnesses. Should parties be in agreement as to certain aspects of the divorce, they can stipulate or agree to those matters. The court will make its decision regarding the contested matter(s) based upon the evidence presented.

Dissolution of Marriage

A divorce differs from a dissolution since the dissolution of a marriage requires both parties to reach an agreement as to the terms of ending the marriage. This agreement must occur prior to filing the dissolution paperwork with the court and before a hearing.

The main document submitted to the court in the dissolution of marriage is the separation agreement.  The separation agreement is an enforceable contract which outlines how the marital property and marital debts shall be divided between the parties. This agreement will also address custody, child support, health insurance and spousal support. The separation agreement must be reviewed by both parties and will require the notarized signatures of both parties.

If there are children of the marriage who are minors, several additional documents are required. Both parties must review and sign affidavits regarding child custody. A child support computation worksheet must be filed detailing the amount of child support to be paid each month. If shared parenting is desired, a shared parenting plan, wherein both parties are custodial parents, can be prepared, which will describe the parenting arrangements of the parties.

A dissolution of marriage requires both parties’ appearance in a court hearing.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is very similar to the dissolution of marriage. In an uncontested divorce, one party sues another for divorce. In this instance, however, the other non-moving party has reviewed and signed an agreed judgment entry, agreeing to the terms of the divorce, including the division of property, allocation of parental rights, child support and spousal support. This method for the termination of marriage is often used when one party does not want to or is unable to appear in court. An uncontested divorce only requires the moving party’s appearance in court. The moving party must also have a witness present at hearing to corroborate the testimony of the party seeking the divorce.