In the state of Ohio, there are two primary ways in which a marriage can be legally terminated. One process is a dissolution and the other process is a divorce. At the end of each of each process, the Court will sign an Order legally ending the parties’ marriage and setting forth the manner in which all issues that are incident to the ending of the marriage are to be resolved. In a divorce proceeding one of the spouses will have initiated the process by filing a formal complaint with the Court seeking a divorce based on one or more of the grounds established by Ohio Divorce law. Any issues that are incident to the ending of the marriage that the parties cannot resolve by agreement, will be resolved by the Court based upon evidence presented at an adversarial trial. In a dissolution, the two spouses agree that they are going to end their marriage and then, usually with the assistance of their respective attorneys, are able to come to an agreement as to how they are going to settle all of the issues that arise when a marriage is ending. That agreement gets put into writing and filed with the Court along with a request that the Court end the parties’ marriage and make their agreement part of the Court Order. Often times dissolution is less expensive and quicker than a divorce, and almost always less traumatic for the spouses and their children.
Ohio Dissolution Procedure
Before filing a petition for dissolution, a separation agreement must be agreed to and signed by both spouses. The spouses may also enter into and sign a Shared Parenting Plan providing for the division of their respective rights and responsibilities regarding their children. These agreements will deal with issues such as:
- Property and debt division
- Child custody/Shared parenting
- Child support
- Alimony/Spousal support
The separation agreement, and if there is one, the Shared Parenting Plan will be attached to the request for dissolution and filed with the Court for consideration.
Except when the parties have utilized the Collaborative Process to resolve all of their issues, a court date will be set no less than 30 and no more than 90 days from the date of filing the dissolution petition. If the parties have engaged in the Collaborative Process, the court date may be scheduled as soon after the filing date as possible. At this hearing, both spouses will appear before the Judge, and testify that they still wish to have their marriage terminated and that they understand and are in agreement with the terms of the Separation Agreement and believe that it is fair and equitable. The Judge will then sign an Order legally ending the marriage and providing that the parties’ written Separation Agreement, and if there is one, Shared Parenting Plan, shall become part of the Order of the Court.
Why Hire an Attorney for Dissolution
While dissolution is a generally more amicable process, it is not necessarily easy. The same attorney cannot represent both parties in a dissolution. It is always advisable that both spouses have independent legal counsel to assist and advise them. Ohio family lawyer John Heilbrun can help you during every stage of the dissolution process to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your children. All of the same legal issues and considerations exist when the dissolution process is used, and there are a number of factors that may be overlooked if the parties attempt to do the dissolution by themselves or retain inexperienced counsel. You need to have your own attorney to assist you in helping you to enter into agreements that will be in your best interest as well as your children’s. This will help prevent post-decree problems.
From the initial consultation, through the process of reaching an agreement with your spouse, to the writing of the Separation Agreement, to the final hearing, attorney Heilbrun can help ensure a dissolution that will be mutually beneficial to you and in the best interest of your children.
If you are considering the best solution for ending your marriage, please call at 513-321-3940 or contact The Law Office of John Heilbrun to schedule an initial consultation at our Cincinnati office today.