You’ve recently decided to end your marriage. Now what? Is divorce your only option, or is there another way to legally end the union?

In the state of Ohio, dissolution of marriage and divorce are two common ways to end a marriage. To determine which option is best for you, it’s important to understand the differences between a dissolution vs. a divorce, especially when it comes to qualifications. For example, you may qualify for one, but not the other. So, how do you know?

Let’s take a look at the main differences and characteristics of divorce and dissolution of marriage.

Dissolution of Marriage vs. Divorce

Dissolving a Marriage

If you and your spouse amicably decide to go your separate ways, and neither one of you is at fault, the circumstances are ideal for a dissolution vs. a divorce. To go this route, both parties must be in agreement on terminating the marriage.

Often called a “no-fault divorce”, a dissolution of marriage requires that both people are on the same page. Another qualification is that you must both reside in the state of Ohio for at least six months prior to getting the dissolution of marriage.

This process takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days, and it involves filing some paperwork and attending a court hearing. The biggest factor in a dissolution of marriage is your ability to peacefully negotiate with your spouse the important details like child custody, property division, spousal support, etc.

Now, let’s consider the pros and cons of dissolving a marriage.


  • It’s more cost-effective than a divorce
  • The process is usually faster than a divorce
  • It’s simpler than divorce, often with less court involvement, negotiations, and fewer court hearings
  • Fault grounds are not an issue (no one is considered at fault)


  • It’s hard to agree on everything when ending a marriage
  • You must remain in agreement throughout the entire process
  • You must wait at least 30 days after filing the petition before you can schedule a court hearing


Ending a marriage through divorce is common. In 2018, the divorce rate in Ohio was at 7.2 per 1,000 individuals. Whenever there is one spouse who wants to end the marriage, they can choose to file for divorce.

Divorces have a reputation for being long and tedious. Getting a divorce involves more than hiring a divorce lawyer,  settling unresolved issues and filing paperwork with the courts. It’s often broken up into three stages, which can take at least a year (or sometimes longer):

  1. Pre-planning
  2. Divorce Process
  3. Resolving Post-Divorce Issues

Every state has its own divorce laws. Ohio is a “no fault” state, but you must choose from a list of specific reasons for filing the divorce, which include:

  • Incompatibility
  • Living apart for over 12 months
  • Adultery
  • Abuse or extreme cruelty
  • Substance abuse
  • Neglect of marital duties
  • and more

Unlike a dissolution of marriage, couples often disagree on major components during a divorce. This calls for court involvement to resolve issues like child custody, child support, spousal support, and even retraining and protection orders.

Why would someone choose a divorce over a dissolution of marriage? Let’s examine the pros and cons:


  • One spouse can file for divorce without agreement from the other
  • There are fewer requirements and qualifications from the courts
  • You can request temporary orders during the divorce process for issues like child support, spousal support, or attorney fees


  • It’s lengthy — The average divorce takes 12 months without children and 18 months with children
  • It can get expensive
  • It’s often complex, with a great deal of court involvement, negotiations, and multiple court hearings

Now that you know the difference between a dissolution of marriage vs. a divorce, it’s smart to have a family law attorney by your side. With filing petitions and attending a hearing, having a trusted lawyer advocating for you will help make the process smoother and less intimidating. Also, having an objective third party to help ensure your side of the agreement is fair is always a wise choice.

Columbus Ohio Divorce Lawyer

The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Kline LLC is honored to work with both traditional and non-traditional families to assist them through extraordinarily difficult times. Please contact us with any questions.

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