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Dissolution of Marriage

The law allows husbands and wives to jointly ask the Court to terminate their marriage without stating the reasons why they want to end their marriage. In order to obtain a dissolution the parties must agree on all aspects of property division, parenting and support before filing the petition for dissolution. They must have been residents of the state of Ohio for six months before filing. The parties must file a petition for dissolution, a waiver of service of process (sometimes included as part of the petition), and a separation agreement.

The separation agreement is a written agreement signed by the parties that states how assets and debts are to be divided and how parenting and support issues are to be handled. Additional forms are required when there are minor children.

Dissolutions must be granted within a limited time frame. A hearing must be scheduled on the petition between 30 and 90 days after filing. A hearing may be scheduled sooner than 30 days if the parties have successfully completed a collaborative family law process. Both parties (“Petitioners”) must attend the hearing and bring a copy of their separation agreement, and a judgment entry for the Judge to sign. The judgment entry, also known as a “decree”, is the legal document that terminates the marriage and makes the separation agreement a court order.

Before the Court adopts the separation agreement it must decide that it is fair, just and equitable to both parties. To do this the Court may ask questions about aspects of the agreement such as the value of assets and debts each party will be awarded. The parties must present the Court with information sufficient to allow the Court to make this determination.