Did you know that 40%-50% of marriages in the USA end in divorce? While most people opt for a divorce, they often don’t know the options they have.
Divorce and dissolution are the two ways to end a marriage legally. You and your spouse may decide that ending the marriage is the best option. However, how do you choose between the dissolution of marriage and divorce?
Is dissolution or divorce the answer? If you want to know the difference between the two, read on below.
What Is Dissolution of Marriage?
Most people use the words divorce and dissolution of marriage interchangeably. But what is the dissolution of marriage? Dissolution happens when two married individuals decide to go to court to have their marriage dissolved.
If both of you are on the same page about ending your marriage, dissolution is a less stressful, cheaper, and easier way to end it. It’s the best option as it doesn’t require the stressful court proceedings a divorce does.
Divorce vs. Dissolution: What Is the Difference?
The marriage dissolution process may help eliminate most of the processes and expenses associated with filing for a divorce. Fault grounds are not a factor in the dissolution process. A dissolution is considered a no-fault divorce.
A dissolution petition is only filed with the court after both parties agree on all matters involved in a divorce. Such issues include spousal support, child custody, division of custody, parental and visitation rights, designation of the marital residence, repayment of debts, and attorney costs.
While the parties are still in negotiation, there is no subpoena power during a dissolution. Thus, you must voluntarily share essential information with your spouse. You are also allowed to hire professionals to assist with property and asset evaluation.
After reaching an understanding, a petition is filled with the court, and a hearing is set depending on your state’s statute of limitation. In Ohio, the hearing is set within the next 30-90 days.
During the hearing, each party must appear and testify that they have made full disclosure of their properties and assets. They are also required by law to state if they are completely satisfied with the agreement to dissolve their marriage and that they were not forced to sign the deal.
After the hearing, the court approves the agreement, and the marriage is dissolved. In a dissolution of marriage, the court is only involved in the last stage of the agreement, unlike in a divorce when everything has to be decided through court.
When Should You Consider a Dissolution of Marriage?
Dissolution is the best option for couples who can still work together through the process and amicably come to an agreement. Divorce is expensive and time-consuming. Thus dissolution could be the best option for you.
However, if there is distrust and resentment, divorce may be the better choice even if you two can work together. This is because the divorce process allows for subpoenaing of information, allowing both parties to be open and honest.
Every marriage and divorce process is unique. Thus, understanding the legal options you have will help you choose the most appropriate way to end your marriage.
What Is Marriage Annulment?
A marriage annulment declares a marriage as legally invalid. It is defined as a legal ruling to erase a marriage and declare it null and void. This happens when both parties were married by mistake or were not in their right frame of mind when they committed to get married.
A marriage annulment ends a marriage that one or both parties feel should never have taken place. You could file for annulment of your marriage if your spouse hid vital information such as an illness or a secret child.
However, even if your marriage is annulled or erased, there will still be legal records of the union on file. Remember that a religious marriage annulment doesn’t count as a legal ending of a civil marriage.
Legal Grounds for a Divorce
Divorce signifies the end of a marriage. This can be quite an emotional and stressful time for most people. Unfortunately, very few individuals know about the legal grounds for a divorce.
However, the actions of one of the parties in a marriage could lead to the breakdown of the marriage. If your partner’s actions are causing you physical and emotional harm, you may file for a divorce. Different states recognize different actions as grounds for a divorce.
Below are some of the most common factors that constitute a legal ground for divorce:
- Fraudulent contract
- Extreme cruelty
- Wilful absence from your marriage for over one year
- Gross negligence of duty
- Getting a divorce in another state while your spouse is still bound by marriage
- Habitual drunkenness
While the above factors constitute the legal grounds for ending a marriage, couples can still choose to divorce even if none of the above faults are in play. If you both feel incompatible and that the marriage is no longer working, you can use this as a ground for a divorce.
How a Divorce Works
The process starts when one party files a complaint to the court asking for a divorce. This leads to the other party being served with divorce papers to notify them of their partner’s intention to end their marriage legally. Unfortunately, the divorce can’t be lawfully granted until after six weeks from the day the other party is notified.
One party may ask the court to grant temporary orders to be in effect while the divorce case is still pending. The temporary orders’ main goal is to preserve the family’s status quo. This protects the finances of the family and any responsibilities to minor children.
In most cases, when people decide to get a divorce, there are often insufficient finances to support multiple households. Thus, temporary orders include matters such as spousal support, child custody, and payment of the lawyer fees. In cases where there is violence, the court may order the parties to refrain from verbally and physically harassing each other.
They are also required to keep all marital assets intact until they are divided by the court. Throughout the process, the court may hold hearings to decide the merits of the temporary order requests or force the parties to comply with court orders. Both parties also have the right to find out about each other’s properties and assets, both marital and non-marital.
What to Do If You Want to End Your Marriage
Are you at the level where you feel your marriage is no longer working, and you are contemplating divorce? Sometimes marriages may fail due to abuse, cheating, cruelty, and gross negligence.
If you wonder whether a divorce or dissolution of marriage is the right option for you, you can visit our about us page today at Hartley Law Office, LLC to schedule a consultation. We also offer other family law services such as child custody.