Ending a Marriage
A divorce is the most common method of terminating a marital relationship. It begins with one spouse filing a lawsuit against the other in which the court is asked to end the marriage and make orders regarding custody, support and the division of all assets and debts. Although rarely an element of dispute and with only a couple of exceptions, grounds for divorce are still required to be proven.
Dissolution of Marriage
A dissolution is simply Ohio's method of acknowledging the termination of a marriage without establishing grounds. The parties must reach an agreement on all issues before papers may be prepared and filed. A brief hearing is held and the judge dissolves the marriage and makes their agreement an order of the court.
A legal separation is a court order where the husband and wife remain married, but live separately. A legal separation does not legally end a marriage, but allows the court to issue orders concerning division of property, spousal support (alimony) and visitation and custody for any minor children. The parties remain married, but live separately.
An annulment is a rarely used court proceeding by which a party seeks to have a judge declare that a marriage should not be recognized because it was either void from the beginning or should now be declared void.
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