What’s the Difference Between Dissolution and Divorce?

In most states, there is no difference between “divorce” and “dissolution of marriage.” Some documents refer to the more technical term of “dissolution of marriage,” while “divorce” tends to be the more casual way of referring to it.

In Ohio, however, there is a difference.


“Dissolution” is usually faster, often less expensive, and indicates that neither party contests the decision to separate. Importantly, the two parties reach a settlement agreement before they file the dissolution petition. The people separating resolve any issues regarding child custody, property, and shared debts before taking any legal steps.


“Divorce” in Ohio means that one spouse alleges that the other is at fault for the separation.

If a divorce happens in Ohio, there must be a reason given for the move to end the marriage, and the court must determine which spouse is responsible for the split.

Other Related Terms

When it comes to dividing assets in Ohio, it is also different from some other states. In Ohio, all assets acquired during the marriage are considered marital assets. Those assets are to be divided “equitably” between the spouses.

The beginning date of the marriage is the date of the ceremony. The ending date can either be the date the court ended the marriage, or an earlier date when the spouses separated.

“Equitably” usually means “equally” when it comes to dividing assets. Ohio courts make exceptions, though, for example in cases of:

1. Gambling losses
2. The purchase of gifts for a lover
3. Failure to disclose an asset in a divorce court proceeding
4. The purchase of an illegal substance such as an illicit drug

Are you in the midst of a split? Would you like some counsel to help protect you? Contact us today for assistance.