For any number of reasons, couples in Ohio and elsewhere may make the difficult decisions to end their marriages. Although the terms divorce and dissolution of marriage are often used interchangeably for terminating a union, they are two different legal actions. Therefore, it may be helpful for those who are planning to split from their spouses to understand the pointed differences between these actions.

According to state law, the court hears the petitioners’ causes for divorce when determining whether to release them from their marital obligations. The causes for which the court may see fit to grant a divorce includes the following: adultery, either spouse having a living husband or wife at the time of the marriage, gross neglect of duty, living separately for at least one-year, habitual alcohol intoxication, extreme cruelty, fraud or incompatibility. Where they cannot reach agreements on their own, state law grants the court jurisdiction over all related domestic relations issues in divorce proceedings.

According to the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court, couples may seek a dissolution of marriage, on the other hand, without specifying the reasons why they are requesting the termination of their union. As such, they do not have to assess blame or fault for the collapse of their marriages in dissolution cases. To have their petitions for a dissolution of their marriages granted, couples must file the petition jointly. Additionally, they must have already reached agreements on the associated matters, including property division, custody and parenting time arrangements, and alimony and child support.