If you are considering divorce, you may be facing a struggle for custody of your children or perhaps considering how you can make sure you receive enough money from your spouse. Divorce can be a difficult process to navigate on your own, but Ohio law also provides an option called dissolution that may make your process simpler if you and your spouse agree on your divorce terms.
Jurisdiction and Grounds
In Ohio, the Court of Common Pleas has jurisdiction over dissolution and divorce. Ohio allows divorce on the grounds of incompatibility between the spouses as long as neither spouse objects. However, there are several other available grounds for divorce, including bigamy, abandonment, adultery, extreme cruelty, fraud, neglect, habitual drunkenness and imprisonment.
Your divorce case begins when you file a complaint for divorce, which must contain an allegation of at least one of the grounds for divorce. To receive your divorce, you must be able to prove the ground you allege. For example, if you list adultery and habitual drunkenness as your grounds for divorce, you must be able to prove both if your spouse disputes those grounds. During your divorce case, the court will determine how to divide marital property between you and your spouse, as well as child custody arrangements and child support. The court may also order the spouses to attend mediation and family counseling.
In addition to divorce, Ohio also has a process called dissolution, in which you and your spouse can file a joint petition and separation agreement. This is typically cheaper than the divorce process. However, dissolution is only available in situations in which both spouses agree that their marriage should be terminated, and they agree about the details of their separation agreement, such as child custody, alimony, property division and the payment of debts. If the spouses don’t agree, the court cannot grant a dissolution. An Ohio court’s decree of dissolution has the same effect as a decree of divorce, and the court has the same power to enforce either type of decree.
Converting between Dissolution and Divorce
You and your spouse can convert a divorce into a dissolution any time before the court enters a final judgment in the divorce. Conversion requires filing a motion with the court, including a valid petition for dissolution. Once converted, the case will proceed as a dissolution. Similarly, a dissolution may be converted into a divorce action at any time before the court issues the decree of dissolution. Since dissolution requires agreement between the spouses, conversion to divorce may be required if both parties cannot agree on a term of their separation agreement. Conversion from dissolution to divorce requires filing a motion with the court, which includes a complaint for divorce.