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.


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 is also the cheaper alternative 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.

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.

Prenuptial Agreement

Also known as a premarital or antenuptial agreement, a prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people 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.