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In most states, the terms divorce and dissolution are used interchangeably. In Ohio, they are very different concepts.

Divorce is a civil litigation in which married people resolve disputed areas involving finances, custody, visitation and spousal support. The key words in divorce are contested and adversarial.

Dissolution, by contrast, is not a contest, or even litigation. It is a written agreement that two sides accept in order to move on. All issues from the marriage are resolved without argument. Key words in dissolution of marriage are amicable and no-fault.

In the best situations, because the two did not go to war with one another, exes have a better chance for a good relationship after the split.

Another important distinction is that divorce costs more. One reason people look to the dissolution solution is to conserve resources for the life that lies ahead.

The fact that dissolution is a friendlier process than divorce does not mean it is simple. Some couples are surprised, once they begin the dissolution process, to discover that their joint assets are more complex than they thought. A dissolution agreement requires that all these matters be addressed.

Having children in the marriage usually raises the stakes in dissolution, bringing emotional questions about custody, visitation, education, health and faith issues that may be better resolved through divorce.

Can you dissolve your marriage without a lawyer? Yes, if your situation is rudimentary – no kids, no questions about marital assets, and no complex financial issues.

Most couples at least look for legal counsel to get them through the process, and to ensure that the written agreement doesn’t reveal gaping loopholes or unresolved problems.

At Mowery Youell & Galeano, Ltd., we work with couples to achieve their goals in dissolution. In addition to dissolution and separation agreements, we are practiced in collaborative law and divorce mediation, for those seeking gentler legal solutions.

Our goal is to remove obstacles and ambiguities, and to conserve your capital for the new life you are embarking on.

If you have questions, talk to us at our Dublin offices at 614-467-4923.