In most states the term dissolution is just another word for divorce. In Ohio this is not the case. A dissolution is a procedure for ending a marriage where both spouses agree on all points, including the decision to end the marriage, child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support and property division. A divorce is the Ohio legal process for spouses who disagree about one or more issues. Dissolution in Ohio is simpler, faster and cheaper than a divorce.
Ohio Dissolution Requirements
Make sure you satisfy the Ohio residence requirement for filing a dissolution. At least one of you needs to have lived in Ohio for six months and in the current county of residence for at least 90 days.
Make sure that you and your spouse agree on everything. During this process, both of you must make full financial disclosure to each other. If you are having trouble with any point, you can try working with a mediator or counselor who can help you work through any disagreements.
Preparing the Separation Agreement
This is a written agreement that covers all the points in your dissolution. Since this is a complicated document, you may want to consult an attorney to help you draft it.
If you do not have children, this agreement covers property division, debt division and spousal support. If you have a complicated financial situation, like division of retirement funds or a business buyout, you may want to consult an expert on how to divide the property. If there are minor children of the marriage, your separation agreement needs to include a parenting plan for custody, caring for the child, visitation, child support and any other issues concerning the child, such as an agreement on religious training.
Petition for Dissolution With (and Without) Children Checklist
Go to the Ohio court website to download a checklist of the information and documents you need to include in your petition for a dissolution. If there are children of the marriage, download the Petition for Dissolution With Children Checklist. If there are no children, download the Petition for Dissolution Without Children Checklist.
Prepare a petition for dissolution following the directions in your checklist. Download all the forms listed in your checklist from the Ohio court website and complete the forms. Attach your separation agreement and all other documents listed in your checklist to your petition and take the petition to the clerk of the domestic relations court in the appropriate county.
Filing and Things to Know
File your petition with the clerk and pay the filing fee. Attend the hearing set by the court and swear before the judge that both of you signed the separation agreement and petition for dissolution voluntarily, that you still agree to the terms of your separation agreement, and that you both want a dissolution of the marriage.