Ending your marriage in Ohio can go through the court, but it does not have to. State law allows couples to try to work out the necessary issues on their own. If they can come up with a written agreement on division of assets, child custody, visitation rights and so on, they can file what is called a dissolution.

This can be a good option for couples who remain relatively amicable, despite the fact that they no longer wish to be married. But dissolution is not a good fit for everyone. Breaking up a marriage can be very emotionally painful. And negotiations almost always require both sides to be able to compromise. This can be an unusual combination, especially if children are involved, as the Columbus Dispatch explains.

The dissolution must be comprehensive, and must be finalized in time for the hearing the court schedules within 90 days of the spouses filing a mutual separation agreement. If one party does not show up to the hearing, the court will not accept the dissolution.

Dissolution will probably work best for couples without children who are equally ready to end the relationship. The spouses should be about equal in terms of financial resources and knowledge, so that both understand what is at stake.

We do not mean to discourage dissolution as an option. But it is important to realize that dissolution is not an automatic way around the divorce process. For couples unable to negotiate a dissolution for whatever reason, divorce is available. Spouses likely will need to be represented by an attorney to make sure their wishes are respected as much as possible.