What is the difference between divorce and dissolution?

by | Dec 30, 2018 | Firm News

As you contemplate moving forward with ending your marriage, you may find a few options available to you. Maybe you know for sure you do not want a legal separation, which is like a divorce, except you stay legally married. However, you may not know if a regular divorce or a dissolution is right for you.

The two lead to the same result but take different approaches to get there. Understanding how each works can help you make the right choice for your situation.


Divorce in Ohio can involve two routes: fault and no fault. Common reasons for fault include committing adultery and abandoning the family for at least a year. No-fault requirements are either to live separately for a consecutive 12 months or to mutually agree you two are incompatible.

To begin the divorce process, you must file paperwork and serve them to your spouse. From there, you have to work out the terms of the divorce. If you can agree on them, the divorce is uncontested. Most likely, there will be conflict that requires court hearings to determine the best outcome. You may obtain temporary orders until the proceedings are over.


With a dissolution, you do not file the papers until you and your spouse have agreed to all the terms. You do the work upfront and then submit a petition to the court for approval. Subpoenas are not permissible to discover information, so this method does take trust in each other’s honesty. However, you can use third-party professionals, such as valuators, to help.

Once you have reached an agreement, you must testify before court that you are satisfied with the agreement. Besides this one, there are no other hearings. Temporary orders are not involved, and no fault or reason for the dissolution is necessary.

If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse can cooperate, or have the same goal to end your marriage as quickly, cheaply and easily as possible, then dissolution may be right for you. If you two cannot agree on things, you do not trust each other or one of you does not want to terminate the marriage, traditional divorce is the way to go.