In Ohio, divorcing couples have the option of filing for a Dissolution of Marriage if both parties agree on all the terms of their divorce, including property division, spousal support, and parenting time. Alternatively, couples who cannot come to an agreement on one or more of these issues can file for a fault-based divorce, which also requires proof that one of the parties caused the end of the marriage through adultery, substance abuse, cruelty, neglect, or another legal basis for divorce. Although the former types of proceedings tend to be resolved faster and with less disagreement, dissolving a marriage is not always possible, so if you and your spouse are considering divorce, it is important to speak with an experienced Massillon divorce attorney who can explain your legal options before you file your petition with the court.
In Ohio fault-based divorces, a marriage can only be legally terminated by the judgment of a court, which will do so if one of the parties can demonstrate that the other was responsible for the marriage’s failure. These proceedings can only be initiated by filing a Complaint for Divorce in a court of common pleas. If the other spouse is not a resident of Ohio, however, the petitioner will also be required to give notice of the action via publication.
Couples who are able to agree on all divorce-related issues have the option of filing a petition for dissolution of their marriage. Unlike divorces, these proceedings do not require input from a judge. Instead, the parties need only sign and file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and include a separation agreement. Within one to three months of filing the petition, both of the spouses will be asked to appear in court, at which point they must acknowledge that they voluntarily entered into the attached separation agreement, that they are satisfied with its terms, and that they both agree to dissolve the marriage.
It is always possible for couples who initially decided to file for divorce to convert their petition into a dissolution action by filing a motion with the court. This motion must contain a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, as well as an agreement detailing how marital assets will be divided and whether one of the parties will be required to pay alimony. Similarly, if a couple has children, they will also need to include the details of a custody arrangement in their agreement. Once this petition has been filed, the action will proceed as a normal dissolution, and both parties will be designated as petitioners. Fortunately, couples who convert their divorces into a dissolution are not usually required to pay additional filing fees.
It is also possible for divorcing couples to convert a dissolution action into a divorce action by filing a revised petition, as long as no decree of dissolution has been granted. In these cases, the petitioner will need to file a new complaint explaining the grounds for divorce.
To speak with an experienced Massillon divorce lawyer about your own divorce-related questions and concerns, please call the legal team at Fout Law today. You can reach us by phone or by completing one of our brief online contact forms.