What’s the difference between a divorce and a dissolution?

| Oct 16, 2014 | Property Division |

In the Shakespeare classic “Romeo and Juliet” the question is posed, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

That may be true of a fragrant flower, but the same is rarely used when spouses decide to sever their relationship. Not only are such splits difficult from the standpoint of the emotional effects, but the division of property accrued in a marriage can often represent a veritable mine field to get through.

Divorce is the word that seems to be used most often to describe the process of ending the marriage condition. But the fact that it’s the common word used disregards the fact that in Ohio there are actually two different ways that marriages can end. And this is not a distinction without a difference.

No, in Ohio, divorce indicates that a civil lawsuit is being filed by one or the other party. As the website for the Ohio Bar Association conveys, going to court requires that a spouse make an allegation that the other spouse is guilty of some fault, such as adultery or cruelty and abuse.

Filing for divorce may also indicate that even if the parties agree that divorce is what they desire, they have been unable to resolve their differences over how to divide their accumulated property. This is not uncommon in situations in which the couple has significant and complex assets to deal with.

A dissolution is something that is sought with the court after the parties have come to terms on all the issues related to the split; child custody, debt management and the like. Such matters are typically sorted out through negotiation with each side having the benefit of legal counsel.

So, while the outcome of both processes is the same, the way of getting to the desired goal is different. In both circumstances, though, an attorney’s help is always recommended.

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