There are two ways to end a marriage in Ohio. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms to end your marriage, you can elect to take the amicable route and file a petition for dissolution. In the event either of you are unable to agree on how things should end, you may then have to go through the painful, time-consuming and costly process of a contested divorce.
Divorce vs. Dissolution
Ohio is an equitable distribution state. In short, no party is going to walk out of a marriage 90/10 or 80/20. For the most part, each party is entitled to half of what is considered part of the marital pool. How you arrive at this division is entirely up to you. If you and your spouse can agree on the division of assets as well as any and all other issues in your marriage, a dissolution is certainly the smarter and more cost-effective choice.
Examples of some of the issues to consider when contemplating the termination of your marriage:
- Children (custody, visitation, child support)
- Disclosure and division of assets
- Retirement accounts
- Spousal support (when applicable)
- Business ownership interests (when applicable)
Once have a rough idea of how you intend to address the issues in your marriage, you will want to find a seasoned attorney who will work through the issues and ultimately prepare a separation agreement and in the case of minor children, a shared parenting agreement, if necessary. You and your spouse would review and sign the agreements along with a petition for dissolution which then is filed with the domestic relations court. Customarily, you have a hearing within 4-6 weeks at which time your dissolution can be finalized.
If you and your spouse are unable to amicably resolve the outstanding issues in your marriage, one party may then have to file a complaint for divorce. As a result, you will spend the better part of a year or longer fighting over among other things, how to end your marriage, who pays who what, how assets are divided and how to deal with parenting of any minor children. Most often, you will realize that after roughly 1.5 years or more and thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars later spent on attorneys, you are more than likely in the same position you would have been had you elected to amicably resolve your marriage through a dissolution. Bottom line…seek the assistance of an attorney who will guide you properly and has your best interests at heart, rather than his/her own, as you will find that attorney fees can the biggest difference in the end!