In Ohio, a dissolution petition is an alternative to divorce for ending a marriage. Spouses may file a joint petition for dissolution only if they are in complete agreement on all matters relating to division of property, custody and parenting issues, child support, and spousal support. A settlement agreement specifying the terms is submitted to the court with the joint petition. As compared to divorce, dissolution is an expedited proceeding that may finalize the end of the marriage within two to three months.
Divorce is the legal process used by spouses who wish to end a marriage, but do not agree completely on division of property, custody and parenting issues, child support, and spousal support. During a divorce proceeding, the attorneys for the spouses try to negotiate a settlement agreement, which the court encourages. If the parties cannot reach agreement on any issues, the court holds a hearing to receive evidence and ultimately decides the outstanding issues for the parties.
Regardless of whether you consider dissolution or divorce, talking with an experienced family law attorney is strongly recommended before you take any steps to begin the process. Complex statutes and court rules apply to both types of proceedings. Without sound legal advice, you may inadvertently give up important legal rights or make mistakes that are very difficult and expensive — or even impossible — to fix.