Dissolution Lawyer in Columbus
Ending a marriage doesn’t have to be a stress-filled journey. Instead of going through a lengthy and expensive divorce procedure in Ohio, what if we told you that you might qualify for a less stressful option- the dissolution of marriage?
That’s true. Dissolution of marriage in Ohio allows you to skip some costly steps. But you and your spouse must satisfy certain requirements. Also, you need to file all the required documents properly to avoid issues down the road.
Law Offices of Dmitriy Borshchak have qualified and experienced dissolution of marriage attorneys to help you sail through the process seamlessly.
Let’s walk through all you need to know before filing a dissolution of marriage petition in Ohio courts.
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What Is A Dissolution of Marriage in Ohio?
Marriage dissolution in Ohio is a no-fault proceeding where both husband and wife mutually agree to end their marriage legally. Both parties file a joint petition to terminate the marriage after signing a separation agreement regarding issues including:
How Can You File For Dissolution of Marriage in Ohio?
The first step is to obtain the standardized forms from Ohio Judicial System. Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Waiver of Summons are the key documents. But it is wise to confirm with the court’s clerk that you have all the forms and met the requirements.
You and your spouse must complete and sign the petition. Remember to fill in, sign, and attach the accompanying forms and the settlement agreement.
So, where do you file the petition and other related documents?
Both of you are “plaintiffs” in the eyes of Ohio’s dissolution of marriage law. That means you can file for dissolution with the Court of Common Pleas in the county where you or your spouse have been living for the past 90 days. But any court anywhere in the state might welcome you if you don’t satisfy this 90-day requirement.
Regarding the filing fee, each county might have its figure- It can sit anywhere from $150 to $400 (those with children usually pay more). The advantage is that you and your spouse can share the charges.
You may even file a fee waiver if things are tight pocket-wise. And the dissolution procedure doesn’t involve filing an answer or serving the petition, saving you the cost of these steps.
How Long Does a Dissolution of Marriage Take In Ohio?
Completion of a separation agreement can be short or long- It all boils down to the complexity and amount of disputes you need to work out. You may need to willingly compromise in one area or another to speed up the agreement.
After agreeing and filing the petition, at least 30 days must pass before the court hearing commences. But the judge must hear your case within 90 days of filing.
The judge will review the agreement and inquire about issues regarding parenting, liabilities, and assets. They’ll determine whether you and your spouse are satisfied and agree to dissolve the marriage.
If the judge is satisfied that both parties are in agreement, they will grant the decision, and the separation agreement will become a court order according to Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3105.64, 3105.65 (2022).
What Are the Requirements of Marriage Dissolution in Ohio?
For dissolution to sail through, both parties must agree to all marriage-related issues, sign all filed documents, and attend the court hearing. Every offspring born to the wife during the marriage should be the husband’s child biologically. If you fail to meet all of these four requirements, you can explore the other legal options in Ohio.
There is also a residency requirement that either (or both) of the parties must meet. Let’s dive deeper into each of the requirements:
1. Agree to all terms mutually
Both parties must agree in advance on property distribution, debt division, child support, and spousal support. They should also agree to other child-related issues, such as child visitation and custody.
Agreeing to all issues can be a stressful trip. But an experienced dissolution attorney can help you and your spouse discuss and resolve the matters before filing the petition.
2. Sign all documents
Both parties must sign relevant documents such as a separation agreement and dissolution petition.
Did you have children and plan to share parenting? The court will require a shared parenting plan here. This separate agreement dictates all parenting responsibilities and rights concerning your offspring.
Here is a comprehensive list of the documents to prepare depending on your situation:
- Petition for dissolution
- Separation agreement
- Affidavit of property
- Affidavit of expenses and income
- Parenting proceeding affidavit
- Shared parenting plan
- Health insurance affidavit
- Judgment entry
Preparing the documents may need guidance from an expert to avoid issues down the road. That’s where seasoned dissolution attorneys come to your rescue.
3. Attend the court hearing
You and your partner must be physically present during the dissolution hearing. Otherwise, the judge will not approve your petition.
If the court cannot hear your case within 90 days due to the absence of a party in court, it must dismiss or convert the case to a divorce.
Dismissal and divorce can lead to more money and time going down the drain. Therefore, you should only pursue dissolution if you are sure your spouse will be present during the scheduled hearing.
Be open with the attorney and tell them whether or not your spouse will adhere to all the requirements. That way, they can suggest the most appropriate legal termination path.
4. No extramarital offspring
All children born to the wife during the marriage should be the husband’s descendants. Also, the wife shouldn’t be pregnant.
Ohio State presumes that offspring born during marriage belong to the husband. If the wife has an extramarital child, the husband can overcome this presumption by establishing paternity. That means the case would include a third party.
Dissolution proceedings in Ohio don’t allow the addition of third parties. Therefore, this option isn’t recommendable if an extramarital offspring is born during the marriage. And if the wife is pregnant, the case cannot commence until she gives birth.
An attorney who understands how legal marriage termination works can assist you in navigating your exact situation.
5. Residency requirement
The husband or wife must have been residing in the state for six or more months before filing the initial documents. This requirement is according to Ohio Rev. Code § 3105.62 (2022).
What Are the Differences Between Dissolution of Marriage and Divorce In Ohio?
Both divorce and dissolution lead to the termination of your marriage. But Ohio’s legal eyes view the two terms differently regarding procedures, requirements, and benefits. Here are some differences:
Ohio dissolution proceedings require both parties to agree on all the legal issues related to the marriage. Several other states call this type of legal process “uncontested divorce.”
On the other hand, divorce in Ohio involves prolonged proceedings and a trial before a final hearing and decision. That’s why most other states refer to this procedure as “contested divorce.”
2. Speed and ease
A dissolution in Ohio does not force you into the many steps that come with filing a divorce. You can even engage an online divorce service to help you complete the documents.
With a divorce, you have to go through all the legal steps. And finalizing the procedure takes more time.
An Ohio dissolution allows you to file a joint petition- meaning you can split the filing charges. You might even decide to do everything yourself without involving an attorney (although going this route is not recommendable).
In the case of divorce, you’ll have to bear the filing cost alone. And a do-it-yourself divorce procedure is often complex homework, so you’ll often require a lawyer.
Why Having a Dissolution of Marriage Lawyer Is Wise
You can file for marriage dissolution in Ohio without an attorney’s help. But going the DIY path can put you at a disadvantage, even if you’ve agreed with your spouse.
An experienced lawyer’s legal advice will ensure you have satisfied all the requirements. They can also pinpoint a mistake you might overlook during the filing process. Additionally, a lawyer worth their salt will help you gather and complete all the required forms and paperwork in one sitting, saving you the back-and-forth court demands.
Contact Our Dissolution of Marriage Attorneys For Your Free Case Evaluation
Dissolution of marriage is an easier and less expensive route to ending your marriage compared to divorce. But you keep everything in order and meet all the requirements.
With our top-notch family law attorneys in Columbus, Ohio, you don’t have to juggle between myriads of issues. We will walk with you from working out a separation agreement to ensuring you’ve met all the requirements and filed the petition. Plus, expect a professional attorney-client relationship.
Let’s help you take the most suitable legal path for your individual case or situation. Contact us today for a no-cost dissolution of marriage consultation.