Dissolution vs. Divorce: Understanding the Distinctions

Dissolution and divorce are two distinct legal pathways for ending a marriage, each with its own characteristics and implications. Knowing the differences between the two can help you make an informed decision about the best course of action for your situation.

Dissolution of Marriage:

A dissolution is typically pursued when both parties have reached an agreement on all issues before initiating any court proceedings. This early agreement helps avoid prolonged court costs and appearances.

Key Aspects of Dissolution:

  1. Both parties jointly file a petition for dissolution.
  2. Dissolutions are inherently uncontested, as both parties agree on all matters.
  3. All issues, including child custody, support, property division, debts, and more, are resolved before filing.
  4. Both parties must be present at the final hearing to ensure the case’s continuation.
  5. Financial and other relevant information is exchanged prior to filing, without court-ordered disclosure.
  6. No temporary orders or restraining orders are issued during the process.
  7. No trial is required.
  8. An Ohio dissolution is typically concluded within 90 days of filing the petition.


Divorce comes into play when agreement cannot be reached, necessitating court intervention to settle the disputes between the parties.

Key Aspects of Divorce:

  1. One party files a complaint for divorce, commencing the legal proceedings.
  2. Divorce cases can be either contested or uncontested, depending on whether the defendant contests the complaint.
  3. Temporary orders can be issued by the court while the case is ongoing.
  4. The court can impose restraining orders to prevent asset disposal or harassment during the proceedings.
  5. The process of “discovery” involves both parties exchanging financial and other relevant information.
  6. The case may proceed to trial if disputes are not resolved.
  7. The duration of an Ohio divorce can range from 90 days to a year (no children) or 18 months or more (divorce involving children).

In summary, a dissolution is a harmonious approach where both parties collaborate to reach an agreement prior to filing, resulting in a swifter and less adversarial process. On the other hand, divorce is pursued when disputes cannot be resolved amicably, leading to court intervention and potentially longer proceedings.

Deciding whether a divorce or dissolution is the right choice for your circumstances requires careful consideration.

Our experienced attorneys are here to guide you through the process and provide the information you need. Contact us today for further assistance and insights.