Dissolution– A dissolution is a civil action filed in the Domestic Relations Court in which the parties have mutually agreed to terminate their marriage.  The action is started after the parties have reached an agreement which resolves all issues of property, spousal support, child support and parenting time, if applicable. The final hearing generally occurs 31 to 60 days after filing. The dissolution process is usually less stressful since the parties have an agreement in place. The dissolution may also be more cost-effective compared to a divorce. When a minor child or minor children are involved, a parenting class must be attended by both parties prior to the hearing.

Divorce– A divorce is a civil action filed in the Domestic Relations Court, asking the Court for an order terminating the marriage. Generally, the parties have not been able to come to an agreement on the terms of separation, and are asking the court to make the final decision and order concerning property, support and children.  The divorce action is initiated by one spouse and if the other party responds it is considered a “contested divorce.”  Divorce actions almost always takes longer than dissolutions. When minor children are involved, a parenting class must be attended.

Collaborative Law- Collaborative law, which includes collaborative divorce, is a process that allows the married couple to separate and divorce without using a judge and court system to determine the final outcome.  The parties mutually agree on terms that most benefit them and their children, with the help of their own attorneys and if desired, other professionals – such as a counselor.  Typically, collaborative divorce is less time-consuming and less stressful, due to the absence of a litigation process and lengthy court proceedings.  This process can also be applied to other matters, such as pre or post-marital contracts.

Legal Separation– Legal Separation is a civil action that does not legally terminate the marriage; however, it does allow the court to make orders concerning property division, support and children. Legal Separation may allow for the division of assets while still allowing one spouse to remain under the health insurance coverage of the other spouse.

Post Decree Modification– A post decree modification is a civil action filed in the Domestic Relations Court after a Decree of Dissolution or Decree of Divorce has been granted. In order to initiate a post decree modification, one party must file a motion asking for a modification (of parenting time or child support for example) and the other party must respond.  Generally, the courts encourage the parties to come to an agreement on post decree modifications.

Prenuptial Agreement– Also known as a premarital or antenuptial agreement, a prenuptial agreement is a contract between two persons in contemplation of their future marriage. The agreement declares how property will be divided if the marriage is dissolved. To be enforceable, there must be full disclosure of assets and entered into without coercion. An Ohio attorney can not represent both parties to the agreement and it is recommended that each employ their own separate counsel.