What is the Difference Between a Dissolution of Marriage and a Divorce?Photo by Bill Oxford

Originally Posted On: https://www.hartley-lawoffice.com/what-is-the-difference-between-a-dissolution-of-marriage-and-a-divorce


This is definitely a very common question that we get asked quite often. The difference between a dissolution of marriage and a divorce is that in a dissolution of marriage, both spouses jointly ask the court to end their union. They do so by delivering their written agreement to the court along with a petition requesting for the court to grant them a dissolution of their marriage. The said agreement is required to include all the issues relevant to their marital relationship, such as child custody and support, property division, debts, and taxes. A final hearing on the petition must be held by the court between thirty and ninety days after it is filed.

A divorce, on the other hand, is a proceeding that involves just one spouse filing a lawsuit against the other by requesting that the court intervene and decide on all matters relating to the marriage. Despite one spouse suing the other spouse for divorce, many people come to an  agreement without going to trial. If there is no agreement reached between the spouses, the court will then make the final decision on all of the unresolved matters.

Simply put, a dissolution of marriage is a mutually agreed upon legal ending to the marriage while divorce is the formal, legal conclusion of a marriage brought up by one spouse and handed to the court.


How Do You Get a Dissolution of Marriage?

Obtaining a dissolution of marriage involves one spouse having to file a divorce petition or a petition for dissolution of marriage. You can find the dissolution of marriage form on the state court’s website where you will fill out basic information about you and your spouse such as names, addresses, dates of birth, and date of marriage, and information about minor children, if any. It also asks you to state the reason you are seeking a divorce. The dissolution form also asks if the petitioner or the person filing is seeking custody, child support, spousal support, or property distribution.


What is the Dissolution Process?

After the petition is filed, it must be legally served on the other spouse. The other spouse will then be able to respond with what he or she agrees or disagrees with in the dissolution forms. At some point during the divorce process, the petitioner may have to file a more thorough complaint to explain specifically what they are asking for and the reason why. In addition, both spouses must provide complete financial disclosures to one another and to the court, chronicling all of their assets and debts.

However, as we mentioned already, most cases actually settle without a trial, either through negotiation or through mediation. Of course, if the case does not get settled, it will move into a trial where both sides will present evidence and testimony about all of the issues being decided by the court. With the case going to trial, the whole dissolution process can take several months and sometimes more than a year until the final resolution is reached.

It is not until the court issues a final judgment and decree that a marriage is officially dissolved. The judge’s decisions on all of the issues in the case are found in this document. If the case settles, the settlement terms would be included in the judgment. Once the judge signs the decree, a certificate of dissolution will be issued by the state.

If you are seeking a dissolution of marriage in Ohio, we recommend that you speak with an experienced divorce attorney about your case. This way you will know all of your rights and the state laws. At Hartley Law Office, we can help answer your questions. Call us at (937) 312-9130 or visit our website for more information.



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Hartley Law Office, LLC
209 E Stroop Rd
Dayton, OH 45429
(937) 312-9130