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FAQs About Ohio Dissolution of Marriage
What is a dissolution?

A dissolution of marriage is a non-adversarial, "no-fault," legal proceeding to terminate a marriage. The parties file a joint petition with the court, requesting that the court review and approve the agreement that they have entered into, which agreement has resolved all relevant issues such as division of property, allocation of marital debt, allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, etc., and that the court terminate their marriage. All of the issues must be resolved or the dissolution procedure cannot be used.

What are the benefits of a dissolution?

The dissolution procedure provides the same legal effect as a divorce in that the marital relationship is terminated. The advantages of a dissolution are that it avoids conflict and confrontation, is usually much quicker, is usually significantly less expensive and the parties can be relatively sure of the ultimate outcome.

What are the requirements for filing a petition for dissolution?

The requirements for filing a petition for dissolution are that at least one of the parties must have been a resident of the State of Ohio for at least 6 months immediately prior to the filing of the petition. The petition must be filed in a court of proper venue, usually the county where one or the other party lives.

What is the procedure for a dissolution of marriage?

Prior to the filing of a petition for dissolution, the parties must execute a separation agreement that provides for the division of all real and personal property; determines the issue of spousal support (i.e. whether there will or will not be spousal support paid by one spouse to the other and if so, how much); if minor children are involved, it must make provisions for the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, child support and visitation rights, and; the resolution of any other issues that relate to the marriage that are proper for a separation agreement. The separation agreement must be voluntarily entered into by both parties after full financial disclosure by the parties.

The separation agreement must be attached to the petition for dissolution. The petition must be signed by both parties and filed with the proper court. Service of process must be made on both parties but is usually accomplished by having the parties sign a waiver of service that is attached to the petition.

After the petition is filed, a hearing date is set by the court. The hearing date must be not less than 30 days or more than 90 days after the filing of the petition. At the time of the hearing both parties must be present in court. The testimony of the parties must be presented to satisfy the judge that the parties entered into the separation voluntarily; that they are satisfied with the terms of the agreement; that the agreement is fair; and, that the parties still want to terminate the marriage by way of dissolution. If the judge so finds, a judgment of dissolution will be entered that incorporates the terms of the separation agreement, thus making the separation agreement an order of the court and the marriage will be terminated.


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In any Ohio divorce, the court orders an equitable, but not necessarily equal, division of property acquired during the marriage. The court does not divide any property acquired before the spouses married. Therefore, it is important to document what property the spouses own and when each acquired it.
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