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Ohio Divorce or Ohio Dissolution

In all states except Ohio, the terms "dissolution" and "divorce" are used interchangeably, and while each state generally uses one term over the other, both refer to the legal process for ending a marriage. In Ohio, a couple seeking to end their marriage can choose to file a Petition for Dissolution or a Complaint for Divorce. As a practical matter, either option will end a marriage, but it's important to choose the right one for your situation.

DivorceWriter's online interview for Ohio provides the information you need to choose the correct option for your situation.

Case Type: Your case must be uncontested.
Signing: Both spouses must sign the dissolution papers.
Court Hearing: Both spouses must attend.
Case Type: Your case can be contested or uncontested.
Signing: Only one spouse has to sign the divorce papers, but the divorce will be finalized quicker if both do.
Court Hearing: Only one spouse is required to attend.

Deciding Between Dissolution and Divorce

To file for dissolution or divorce in Ohio, one spouse must reside in-state for six months and in the filing county for at least 90 days, and both are filed at the Clerk's office for the Court of Common Pleas. If you choose Ohio dissolution, both spouses must agree to end the marriage, and both must be willing and able to sign certain documents and attend the court hearing. However, if your spouse disagrees with ending the marriage, is unwilling to sign documents, or is unable to attend the court hearing with you, you must file a divorce instead of a dissolution.

Usually, the reason why people file for divorce instead of dissolution is because the divorce is contested, which means your spouse does not agree to end the marriage. However, even in an uncontested case where both spouses have reached an agreement on all issues, you'll have to file for divorce instead of dissolution if both spouses are not able to attend the hearing together. If your spouse cannot attend the divorce hearing with you, which may be the case if he or she lives in a distant county or another state or country, or if your spouse is physically unable to come to court due to an illness or incarceration, dissolution is not an option.

Variations in Documents and Procedure

Some of the documents are the same such as the Separation Agreement, Child Support Worksheet and Parenting Plan. However, the Ohio dissolution procedure is traditionally more collaborative than a divorce, so the non-filing spouse has a greater level of participation in that he or she is required to sign more documents and attend the court hearing. With a divorce, which is traditionally associated with a contested case in Ohio, only one spouse is required to sign documents and only the filing spouse is required to attend the court hearing, although it's usually helpful if the non-filing spouse will accept service of divorce papers and sign an Answer and a document waiving formal service of the Summons.  Based on whether you select divorce or dissolution, DivorceWriter will provide you with the documents you need to complete your case along with county-specific forms and step-by-step filing procedures.

Uncontested Divorces Can Be Finalized as Quickly as Dissolutions

Dissolutions and uncontested divorces are usually finalized in 30-90 days. If your case is uncontested and the only reason you're filing a divorce instead of a dissolution is because your spouse is unable to attend the court hearing with you, your divorce should be finalized as quickly as a dissolution would be, especially if your spouse will promptly sign and file the necessary documents.  However, if you are filing for a divorce because your case is contested, you should expect that it will take at least a few more months longer to finalize than a dissolution.

Updated: December 2014

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