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Four ways legally terminate your marriage

Ohio recognizes four ways to terminate a marriage under under the law.

First, a married couple can file a dissolution. A dissolution is a petition by the married couple to an Ohio court asking that it legally dissolve the marriage. Dissolutions are preferred by many couples because they are usually the quickest and least expensive method for terminating the marriage. Just as important, dissolutions also put the couple in charge of terms for terminating the marriage, rather than the court. The disadvantage to a dissolution is that it requires the married couple come to an agreement on the division of all marital property, parenting time with children, and any other issues that are related to the marriage.

Second, a married couple can file a divorce. A divorce is a petition filed by one party in the marriage to an Ohio Court asking that it legally dissolve the marriage. Divorces are necessary if the couple cannot reach an absolute agreement on the division of all marital property, parenting time with children, and any other issues that are related to the marriage. Divorces generally take longer to complete than a dissolution and are often more expensive.

The first two options are, by far and away, the most common ways to terminate a marriage in Ohio. The next two are only rarely used.

A third option for terminating a marriage in Ohio is an annulment. Annulments are filed  by one party in the marriage to an Ohio Court asking that it legally dissolve the marriage. However, unlike a divorce or dissolution, annulments are only possible in very limited circumstances. The Fogelman Law Firm LLC recommends you seek competent counsel if considering a legal annulment. And, please note that a legal annulment, like the kind discussed in this article, is vastly different from a religious annulment that might be a process offered through your church or other house of worship.

A fourth option related to the termination of a marriage in Ohio is a legal separation. Legal separations do not entirely terminate a marriage; instead it leaves the legal marriage intact, but divides all marital property, determines parenting time, and resolves any other marital matters. This option is chosen by some married couples who must retain their legal marriage for some reason, but wish to otherwise move forward between one another as if divorced.