Dissolution of Marriage For Women

Compassionate Attorneys Helping Women Navigate the Complexities of Dissolution of Marriage

Many states, including Indiana and Michigan, use the terms divorce and dissolution interchangeably. However, this is not the case in Ohio. In Ohio, both divorce and dissolution of marriage end a marriage but have different requirements, procedures, and benefits.

Dissolution in Ohio can be a faster, simpler, and cheaper way to end your marriage. However, in order to secure a dissolution, you and your ex-spouse must agree on all key issues. In Indiana and Michigan, this is known as an uncontested divorce.

It is important that you do not compromise your rights when leaving your marriage, as the outcome of these key issues will have a massive impact on your future. Before you decide to continue with a dissolution or uncontested divorce, you should seek advice from a family law attorney who can discuss all of the pros and cons based on your specific circumstances.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we represent women in family law in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Our attorneys share a desire to empower women with knowledge of their rights and options so that they can make informed decisions and move forward with their lives in stability and confidence.

We are deeply attuned to women’s needs in dissolution, divorce, legal separation, and other family law matters. Our attorneys use a holistic approach that utilizes low conflict resolution where possible while always being prepared to represent our clients in court if necessary.

We offer a free consultation, so regardless of what stage of the process you are in, contact us today and speak to a dedicated family law lawyer at 380-212-3731.

What Options Are There For Ending a Marriage in Ohio?

In Ohio, there are a few different options for married women who are unhappy in their current relationship. They are divorce, dissolution, legal separation, and annulment. Depending on your circumstances, some of these options may not be available to you. Each one has important advantages and disadvantages to consider, and before you make your decision, you should seek advice from a family law attorney.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we offer a free consultation so you can seek some initial advice and gain clarity on your next steps.


A dissolution of marriage in Ohio is where a couple jointly applies to the Court to terminate their marriage. They do not state the reasons why they are ending their marriage, and they agree on all key issues, including child custody, property division, child support payments, and spousal support. This is known as an uncontested divorce in many other states including Indiana and Michigan.

The couple may work with attorneys to agree on the terms of their separation agreement which they will file with the Court. The Judge should grant the dissolution if it is in line with state law.


A divorce petition is a civil lawsuit to end a marriage. Spouses ask the court to make final decisions regarding matters relating to key issues such as property division and child custody.

Usually, one spouse files a complaint with the clerk of the court, where they will establish the grounds for divorce. The other spouse will then be served the divorce papers, which they will need to respond to within 28 days.

There will then be a lot of back and forth where divorcing spouses will work out all key issues. Most cases are eventually settled by agreement, meaning they will prepare a proposed divorce decree with the help of their attorneys, which they will submit to the court for approval. After a short hearing, so long as it is in line with state law, it will be approved by a Judge and become a court order.

If a couple cannot resolve all of their disputes, then their attorneys will present evidence on their behalf in a contested trial. The court will review the evidence and make decisions based on Ohio family law.

Legal Separation

Unlike divorce and dissolution, a legal separation does not legally end a marriage. However, it does allow for the court to issue orders concerning child custody, spousal support, child support, and property division. In a legal separation, you keep your marital status and can reconcile with your spouse at any time.

Some people choose this option for religious reasons, or because they hope to continue their marriage one day or for financial reasons (such as keeping insurance benefits). However, a legal separation does have important implications. For example, you cannot remarry, the property you gain could still be considered shared property, and if you decide to divorce, then you could end up spending more than you would have if you chose divorce from the outset.


An annulment is where the court states that the couple was never legally married in the first place, which makes the marriage void. An annulment can only be granted in specific circumstances that qualify grounds for nullification; they are:

  • Lack of consent due to a mental condition or drugs or alcohol
  • One or both parties were minors without parental consent
  • An inability to consummate the marriage
  • The marriage was made to commit fraud
  • One or both parties were forced into the marriage

How Is Dissolution of Marriage Different From Divorce in Ohio?

The key difference between dissolution and divorce in Ohio is that in order to secure a dissolution, there must be no contested issues. Both parties agree on all issues, there is no fault, and they request for the marriage to be dissolved jointly.

The most important differences to consider are:

  • Agreement – In Ohio, in order to proceed with a dissolution, you and your ex-spouse must agree on all issues relating to ending your marriage, including child custody, child support, property division, and spousal support. In most other states, including Indiana and Michigan, this is known as an uncontested divorce. On the other hand, a divorce in Ohio or a contested divorce in most other states often involves lengthy legal proceedings and a trial where the Judge will have the final say on all disputes.
  • Grounds – A dissolution of a marriage does not require grounds. On the other hand, when you divorce, you need to establish grounds for divorce. In a no-fault divorce, you separate on the grounds of supportability. Or in an at-fault divorce, grounds could include adultery, imprisonment, extreme cruelty, gross neglect, fraudulent inducement to marry, habitual drunkenness, and willful absence for more than one year.
  • Cost – A dissolution is usually cheaper than a divorce. Court cases are expensive, and the cost of hiring a lawyer for dissolution is also cheaper.
  • Time – In a divorce, you and your ex-spouse may spend a significant amount of time trying to compromise on key issues. You will also have to wait for the court to be available to hear your case. On the other hand, a dissolution can be finalized more quickly.
  • Temporary Orders – When a couple is separating, they may need guidance on key issues such as child custody, use of the marital home, or how bills and debts will be paid. During the divorce process, you will be able to secure temporary orders from the court so that you have clear guidance while you wait for your divorce to be finalized. However, if a couple is filing for a dissolution of marriage, then they cannot seek temporary orders. However, you may come to an arrangement for support payments for three months or less while you wait for your dissolution decree.

Do I Need an Attorney For a Dissolution of Marriage?

We recommend that women seeking dissolution contact us for a free consultation. We will discuss your case with you and advise you on whether we believe that dissolution of marriage is a good option. At this point, you may continue with our help, or you may decide to file for a dissolution of marriage independently.

We can help ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly and will streamline the process, taking a lot of the stress away from you. Or if you decide to continue with a divorce, then we will act as your advocate in every negotiation and court hearing and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

If you do decide to file for a dissolution of marriage independently, then you can download the court forms for a dissolution of marriage from the Ohio Judicial System’s website.

You will need to file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Waiver of Summons. You and your ex-spouse must fill out and sign the petition and attach your signed settlement agreement and accompanying forms. You should also check with the court clerk’s office where you are filing to see if your county has any additional requirements.

Separation Agreement

In order to file for a dissolution of marriage, you and your spouse must produce and sign a marital settlement agreement, also known as a separation agreement. This is an important document that addresses all issues that would otherwise be addressed during divorce proceedings. You should consider each of these factors carefully to ensure that you agree on all issues before you file for dissolution.

Key issues include:

If you want to file for a dissolution, but need help to decide on these key issues, then a family law attorney who is trained in mediation can help. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, our attorneys are all skilled mediators. We can help you, and your ex-spouse come to amicable agreements that protect your rights and prioritize the best interests of your children.

Child Custody Agreement

In order to file for a dissolution of marriage, you and your ex-spouse must agree on a child custody arrangement. An attorney can help you come to an agreement that prioritizes the best interests of your children. However, if child custody is a hotly debated issue, then the dissolution of marriage is probably not the right option for you.

In Ohio, parents must decide on parental rights and responsibilities. Parental rights is the ability to make decisions on your child’s behalf, such as those relating to education, medical care, and religion. Parents often share parental rights, which means that parents will need to work together to make important decisions on behalf of their children. If you do not believe that your ex-spouse should keep the right to make decisions on behalf of your child, then you will need to provide clear evidence as to why. In this situation dissolution is unlikely to be the right option for you.

Parental responsibilities refer to the amount of time each parent spends with their child. You may decide to share parental responsibilities equally, or it could make more sense for one parent to become the custodial parent who the child will live with for the majority of the time while the other is granted visitation rights. This often works with families’ schedules better and helps foster stability for the child.

A typical visitation schedule is every other weekend and one weekday evening. However, other arrangements are also possible depending on the specific needs of your family.

Once again, if you do not believe that your ex-spouse should have visitation rights or you think they should be supervised, then you will need to present substantial evidence, and dissolution is unlikely to be an option for you.

Child Support

If you have minor children, then a child support order will be a key aspect of your separation agreement. Both parents have a moral and legal responsibility to provide financial support for their children. In most cases, the non-custodial parent will pay child support to the other to help towards the costs of raising them, such as providing shelter, food, toys, and more.

The Ohio child support guidelines are based on both parents’ net monthly income and the number of children. You can find out what your agreement could look like by using the Child Support Calculator.

While guidelines can provide you with a rough figure, it is also possible for child support to deviate from these guidelines. For example, if your child has additional medical needs, then the child support order may need to be higher.

Property Division

When your marriage ends, you and your ex-spouse need to distribute all of your assets and debts. In Ohio, your first task will be to determine what property is separate and what is marital.

Separate property is anything that you or your ex-spouse acquired before you married each other, and this continues to belong to each individual after the marriage ends. Separate property can also include gifts, inheritance, and compensation.

Martial property is anything either party acquired while they were married. In Ohio, each party is considered to have contributed equally to marital property, and so it must be divided equally unless such a division would be inequitable.

An inequitable division could be justified under many circumstances, such as if one spouse is taking primary custody of the children, one spouse has significantly more separate assets than the other, or if one party is solely responsible for the marital debt.

An attorney can help you to divide all of your assets, including real estate, pensions, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and more. If you cannot mediate an agreement, then you will need to continue with a contested divorce. How property is divided could have a huge impact on your financial stability, so it is essential that a just and fair decision is reached.

Spousal Support

Many women sacrifice job opportunities or education to care for children and a home. When they do, they may be owed spousal support to ensure that both spouses can maintain a standard of living after the marriage has ended. If the woman is the higher earner, then it is also possible for her husband to be granted spousal support.

Unlike child support, there is no clear guidance on how much should be awarded. There are many factors that can be taken into account, but the most significant ones are income disparity and the length of the marriage.

Often spousal support is temporary and gives the receiving spouse an opportunity to find work or to undergo vocational training so that they can continue to support themselves after the order ends. However, if the marriage lasted for a long time, then a spousal support order could be indefinite.

Once again, you and your ex-spouse will need to agree on whether a spousal support order is appropriate and what it will look like if you want to continue with a dissolution of marriage.

How Long Will It Take to Secure a Dissolution of Marriage in Ohio?

In a dissolution of marriage, there is very little court involvement. Therefore, how long it takes depends on the amount of time necessary for you and your ex-spouse to formulate your separation agreement.

Your family law attorney can help you to come to agreement on all key issues while ensuring that your rights are protected. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we understand that many women have the desire to move a dissolution of marriage forward as quickly as possible. We will be dedicated to your case and will work to streamline the process.

Once you have agreed on all key issues and filed all the necessary paperwork, you will need to wait a minimum of 30 days for the hearing. The court must schedule the hearing within 90 days after you file. You and your ex-spouse will need to attend the hearing and tell the Judge under oath that the agreement is voluntary, you are content with it, and you want the marriage dissolved.

The Judge will review the agreement, and if they think that it is in line with the best interests of your children, they will sign the final dissolution decree. Your separation agreement is part of the degree which means that the judge will have the power to enforce it as a court order.

This means that every decision, including those relating to child custody and property division, can be enforced by the court. Therefore, you should take great care to ensure that the right decisions are made which support your future.

Domestic Violence

If you have suffered domestic abuse at the hands of your spouse, then dissolution is unlikely to be an option for you. It is important that the court is made aware of your experiences so that they can be considered when key decisions are made, such as those relating to child custody.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we understand how difficult it is to take the first steps and will quickly get to work to support you. Thanks to our dedication to women, we have a unique ability to meet their needs, even in complex cases such as those involving domestic abuse.

The first thing we will do is help you to file for a protection order which places a legal obligation on your ex-spouse to stay away from you and your children. We will then work with you to evidence your claims.

If you are in immediate danger, then you should call 911 so that they can ensure you are safe.

Dissolution of Marriage For Women FAQ

Who can file for a dissolution of marriage in Ohio?

In order to file for a dissolution of marriage in Ohio, you must first meet the state’s residency requirements. That means that you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months before you file. One or both parties must have also lived in the county where you file for at least 90 days.

How much is a dissolution of marriage?

The cost of dissolution of marriage varies between cases. Firstly, the filing fee varies between cases and can be more if you have children; it is usually between $150 and $400. Usually, the cost will be split between you and your spouse, but you may also request for the fee to be waived if you cannot afford it.

If you decide to enlist the help of an attorney, then you will also need to pay legal fees. The more you and your ex-spouse can agree upon, often the cheaper it will be to end your marriage. However, it is important to remember that the outcome of key issues such as property division will have a big impact on your finances and so it is important that fair decisions are made.

When you contact Woodford Sathappan McGee, we will discuss our fee structure with you so that you can make an informed decision on your next steps.

Can I work with a female family law attorney?

At our family law firm, all of our attorneys, both male, and female, are dedicated to the needs of women. However, we understand that some women would rather work with a female attorney and are always happy to accommodate.

Arrange a Free Consultation Today

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, our narrow focus, to support women through family law matters in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, gives us a unique ability to provide comprehensive support to our clients. We will be adaptive to your needs and will work tirelessly to ensure that you have a bright future to look forward to.

We are proud of our approach to the attorney-client relationship and will guide you throughout all legal proceedings while lending a sympathetic ear when you need it.

Contact us today at 380-212-3731 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney.