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Are Dissolution and Divorce the Same?

Young couple after quarrel sitting back to backWhile they are both the ending of a legal marriage contract, they are different according to the law.  When a couple is looking to end their marriage, they have two options.  They may divorce when they are unable to come to terms with how the ending of the relationship will be.  This is commonly known as “at-fault divorce”.  When two people can come to terms with how to end the relationship amicably, this is known as “no-fault divorce” or dissolution of the marriage.  There are differences to consider.

Which One is Best for Me?

It is always best for all involved to end the marriage on terms mutually agreed upon.  A lot of time, money and emotional stress will be saved if both parties can set and adhere to the terms they set forth in their own dissolution.  Issues such as child custody, visitation and support, division of property and payments of debt will need to be settled.  When all such terms are agreed upon ahead of time, a petition to dissolve the marriage can be granted without appearing in court.  While the dissolution will still go through a potentially lengthy process before the final decree, the need to go to court can be avoided as long as both parties continue to remain cooperative. 

When a marriage cannot be peaceably dissolved, an “at fault” divorce is the only option moving forward.  The differences will need to be settled in court.  This will incur higher attorney and court fees as well as more court appearances for both spouses.  There are also different types of divorce that states recognize and generally involve a year separation before the divorce will be granted.

What is a Summary Dissolution of Marriage?

Depending on the state, there are different requirements for the dissolution of a marriage.  These requirements include:

–          Length of time married

–          Length of time living in the state

–          Having children

–          Joint ownership of property

–          Alimony requirements

–          Limits on the amount of debt or assets held by a spouse

If a couple has been married beyond a certain amount of time such as 5-10 years or the wife is pregnant, most states will not allow the pursuit of a summary dissolution.  Because it is the easiest and quickest form of legally ending a marriage, the requirements are stringent.  The best way to determine if a summary dissolution will work for you is to contact an attorney familiar with marriage law.

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