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What is the difference between divorce and dissolution?

The only way in Ohio to end a valid marriage, other than death, is by divorce or dissolution, both of which are started with an action filed in the Domestic Relations Court. The primary difference between the two is that dissolution begins with the spouses filing a separation agreement in which they agree to dissolve the marriage based on the terms of the agreement. Dissolution is not adversarial in nature and the parties have control over the final outcome.

In a divorce, one of the spouses must file a complaint to end the marriage. Reasons for divorce in the state of Ohio include incompatibility, adultery, and fraud, among others. The plaintiff (the initiator of the divorce) and the defendant (the spouse) work through the details of the divorce in a formal process, often with lawyers, beginning with the ‘answer to the complaint,’ moving to a discovery, on through pretrial, and finally settlement. The court often determines the final outcome such as custody and spousal support payments.