Closing the Doors: 5 Facts About Marriage Dissolution You Need to Know

If you’re reading this you’ve probably decided you no longer want to be married or your spouse has indicated that they want to end things.  This can be a confusing time and you need to know what your options are. You first need to understand what is involved in ending a marriage.

What is marriage dissolution?

In most states, dissolution of marriage is the same thing as divorce. That is the formal legal termination of a marriage. In others, like Ohio, the terms refer to different processes although the end result is the same. This article will outline some of the basic things you need to know if you’re thinking about ending your marriage. It will address dissolution as divorce since this has broader appeal.


How do you get a divorce?

Either you or your spouse must file a divorce petition. This is also known as a petition for dissolution of marriage. The exact form varies by state, but it usually asks for basic information about you and your spouse like your names and addresses, when you got married and if you have any minor children. You will also have to state the reason why you’re getting a divorce. The person filing the petition will also indicate on the form if they are seeking custody, child or spousal support or property.

Do you need a lawyer?

It is quite possible to file your own divorce papers and complete the process without the help of an attorney.  This applies if both parties are in agreement on all issues relating to custody, support, and division of property and you have all the information on your family’s assets and liabilities and they are straightforward. You also need to be able to research state law and keep up with filings and court appearances on your own.

Some divorcing couples can manage this but since state laws vary considerably and divorces are often contentious, it is usually best to hire an attorney. If there are businesses, significant amounts of property and other assets involved, you will need specialized help such as a lawyer from

Do you have to say the divorce is one spouses’ fault?

Not anymore. All states now recognize no-fault divorces which means the spouse filing for divorce does not have to that the other person did anything wrong. In such cases, the reason generally given for the divorce application is irreconcilable differences. Fault divorces are no longer common and may not be recognized by some states. The most likely faults are adultery, abandonment, cruelty and the physical inability of a spouse to have sexual intercourse.

Can you file for divorce in any state?

Most states have residency requirement so you may have to be living for six months to a year before you can file for divorce there.  However, in Washington, South Dakota, and Alaska there is no required length of time. You just need to be a resident at the time of filing. You should try to file in the state in which you live since the court which orders the divorce degree is also the court which will hear all matters relating to the case.

The divorce process can be overwhelming, emotional and financially burdensome. In addition to hiring an attorney, you may want to reach out to other professionals like therapists and mediators for help.

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