Contrary to what you may see on TV, not every divorce involves a long, contentious courtroom battle. In fact, most couples end their marriage through uncontested divorce or dissolution. If you are having marital problems and thinking about separating from your spouse, consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney. Depending on your objectives, and whether you and your spouse are on the same page, you may be able to end your marriage in a timely and cost-effective manner without arguing in court – and you may not even need to step foot in a courtroom.
What is the difference between a dissolution and an uncontested divorce?
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on issues such as the division of property and assets, spousal support, child support and child custody, your divorce is contested. This means that in order for you to part ways from your spouse, you will need to go to court and have a judge review and decide your case.
If, however, you can agree on these issues, you will be able to end your marriage through either dissolution or uncontested divorce. If both parties will be able to attend the final hearing terminating the marriage, then a dissolution is usually preferred. A dissolution requires the least paperwork, which also means the least time and expense. The legal waiting period is only 30 days.
In some cases, even though both parties agree fully on all issues, one of the parties does not live nearby, travels extensively, or is otherwise unavailable to attend the final hearing terminating the marriage. Due to a quirk in Ohio law, the divorce can still go forward as an uncontested divorce. Like a dissolution, the parties to an uncontested divorce will sign all agreements ahead of time and file all other required documents with the court. However, the waiting period is 45 days; the court requires more information; the party attending the final hearing must bring a witness; and, like a contested divorce, a restraining order, which freezes most of the parties’ assets, is mandatory, and remains in place until the final hearing.
In Ohio, seeking a dissolution of marriage or uncontested divorce has many benefits over a contested divorce. First, it is faster because there is no need for a drawn-out legal battle. Additionally, it is much more affordable, because legal costs will be substantially lower. Many couples rely on mediation to help finalize their uncontested divorce, and many rely on attorney-assisted negotiation.
Settlement agreement prepared by an attorney
It is always a good idea to have an experienced lawyer help you draft a settlement agreement. A skilled attorney can help ensure your divorce agreement is enforceable, and clearly resolves marital debt issues as well as the division of property and assets, and explains parental custody, support and visitation. Then, your lawyer will submit these documents to the courts. After the court receives your documents, a hearing will be scheduled.
The final hearing
During the hearing, you must be able to truthfully testify that:
- You voluntarily entered into the agreements.
- You agree with the terms of the agreements.
- You are not in bankruptcy.
- There is no current pregnancy.
- If either party is active duty military, all additional requirements have been met.
- You still want to dissolve the marriage.
Dissolution or uncontested divorce is especially beneficial for couples who have children because it minimizes stress and emotional fallout.
Contact a knowledgeable divorce attorney in Ohio
Experienced and compassionate, Jennifer Nielsen provides trusted divorce and family law counsel to clients throughout Central Ohio. Located in Columbus, Jennifer is dedicated to helping divorcing spouses resolve the toughest issues as swiftly and cost-effectively as possible. Contact Jennifer Nielsen online today for a 30-minute consultation or call 614-505-5555 to discuss your case.