I was looking over the Morrison & Nicholson Ohio Law Blog webstats the other day and noticed that quite a few people were looking for information about Ohio’s dissolution of marriage process and whether or not a lawyer is required. Thus, this blog entry was born: What is a dissolution and do I Need a Lawyer for an Ohio Dissolution of Marriage?
In most states the term dissolution refers to a traditional divorce proceeding. However, in Ohio a dissolution of marriage is a statutory alternative to a divorce proceeding in which husband and wife both agree on parental rights, spousal support, and division of personal property, contained in a document called a separation agreement. The husband and wife then file the a dissolution petition to the court, attaching the separation agreement and various other forms, asking the court to issue a decree.
Ok, so you have googled “dissolution of marriage in Ohio,” purchased the forms from an online legal form vendor for 300 bucks and now your thinking about all the money your going to save by not having to hire a lawyer. Can this work? Yes, it can. A lawyer is not necessarily required to get a marriage dissolution. However, before you go that route keep in mind that many of these online forms warehouses give little or no instruction as to filling out the forms and the process of filing. Furthermore an attorney can help negotiate, advise, and protect your interests. For those of you willing to bear the storm I hope that this blog entry will at give you a big picture perspective of the process itself.
Before you order anything online you should stop by your local county clerk’s office (normally the Division of Domestic Relations) or the website and take a look at the forms that are required for a dissolution. Doing so will give you a better idea about whether this is something that you would like to tackle yourself. Also, the people working in the Clerk’s office are generally not very helpful as they are not allowed by law to give legal advice, don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
After you have have all the required forms properly filled out you then submit them to the court. A petition hearing date will then be set anywhere from 45-90 days later. At this hearing a judge will ask you and your spouse a few questions then she will issue the decree of dissolution and voilia, your marriage is dissolved.