There are two main ways to end a marriage in the Ohio legal system: dissolution and divorce. Couples with children should choose carefully between these alternatives in order to achieve a lasting post-marriage agreement. 

It bears mentioning that neither of these options involves a jury. As such, one should expect a decision based on a strict interpretation of the law by a divorce magistrate, or else a dissolution agreement reached through mediated negotiations. In neither case would emotional reactions or lay interpretations of jurors effect a change in the final separation documents. 

In a typical dissolution, both partners must agree to resolve certain issues independently or through mediated negotiation before a court offers a final opinion on the agreement. These negotiations might be brief, but they could also take considerable time — if the parties or situations involved require special attention to visitation or custody rights, for example. The Supreme Court of Ohio provides a relatively short list of forms needed to finalize a dissolution with children, but it bears remembering that these completed forms often represent the culmination of exhaustive mediation. 

The forms the Supreme Court of Ohio requires for formal divorces involving children are potentially more complex and greater in number than the dissolution paperwork. These documents reflect another difference between the two processes: divorces are a formal proceeding in which each side might contest the other's motions on the public record, whereas parties typically conduct that back-and-forth discussion privately with dissolution and submit the resulting agreement for court approval. 

Local and state laws on divorce procedure are both likely to factor into a couple's decision on which option to choose. The forms partners require might provide some insight into the process, at least by preparing separating couples to gather the relevant information.

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