A dissolution of marriage refers to the legal process of ending the marriage/marital contract with your spouse. To begin the divorce process, you must file a petition to end your marriage legally.
However, this differs from a divorce due to its legal implications. A dissolution is essentially closer to a marriage ending through no fault. This basically means that in terms of the evidence you will present to the court. You don’t really need to prove your spouse is at fault or vice versa, hence the no-fault.
You will most likely need a lawyer, and in fact, it is recommended to get one. Especially if you’ve signed prenuptial agreements that would dictate the distribution of assets and properties. You would also need to consider who assumes custody of the minor children after the dissolution.
You can either file it with your spouse or individually do so. There are many ways to end a marriage. For instance, the type of divorce could be just a no-fault divorce, annulment, or when a marriage is declared void.
In this last case, the marriage should never have occurred and is not recognized legally in the court of law. An example of this would be the age limitations on marriage. A marriage contract with a minor could never be legal, although the age of consent differs from state to state.
In this article, we will help you answer the question, “what is a dissolution of marriage?” and give you some advice.
What is Dissolution of Marriage? Dissolving A Marriage
As we mentioned above, you would have to find a lawyer. You can’t avoid legal representation, although you can file the petition for the dissolution of the marriage on your own.
A lawyer working in your state will be aware of all its laws, and it is their job to counsel you in your best interests keeping the laws on divorce in mind. If you can’t afford the service fees, try consulting legal service programs for pro bono work.
Marriage can be dissolved for reasons other than no-fault. For instance, divorce is usually granted when the couple has faced irreconcilable differences. This has led to the marriage breaking down without any solution to it or “incurable sanity.”
You will need to file the petition – and the court can ask you for supporting and additional documents – with the court and your spouse. However, if your spouse claims to have never received the documents, and you can’t come up with any evidence of doing so.
This would prove you never sent the petition to your spouse. This means the process will either take longer or not go through at all, so be careful.
A lot of people wonder if they will need to present themselves at a trial – excessive law and order shows will do that to you – but it is still a valid question. You can avoid a trial if you and your spouse can successfully negotiate the terms of the divorce. Your lawyers will be an important asset in this negotiation.
However, as we mentioned above, complex situations like the custody of the minor child and division of assets like property, money, automobiles, jewels, etc., can lead you to trial. There’s also the issue of alimony.
You need to ensure that you clear your schedule and attend all the court proceedings. Not notifying the court and remaining absent can result in the case being dismissed or put aside. To emphasize, it is crucial to respond to notice of hearing and attend.
There’s a likely chance that in a dissolution, where both parties have agreed to end the marriage, not a lot of conflict will arise. This means that going to trial can be avoided.
However, if you successfully negotiate the terms, or if the judge decides about your marriage, you need to comply with the set terms. Otherwise, you not only violate the law but also end up in contempt of court. This is a legal way of saying you’ve disobeyed the law.
You can also opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce or dissolution. This basically means that the couple does not live with each other, and their assets, including children, would be fairly divided, but the marriage is still very much intact.
Child custody can be a sensitive spot for most parents and is often the reason behind strict residency requirements from the court. Divorce with children involved can be a messy affair. So apart from legal support, you should also look for emotional support for your children.
Most couples who opt for this do it because of either sociopolitical, religious, or cultural reasons. Others would protect their spouse from being potentially deported from the country if they are not citizens yet.
Stats on Divorce in The United States
In the United States, the myth is that around half of marriages will usually end with divorce. It’s not a very uncommon or rare occurrence for one or more parties to end the marriage. This isn’t strictly true; the actual rate is around 39%.
However, religious reasons aside, many couples stay together for the sake of their children or even for appearances in front of family members.
Interestingly, marriage and divorce rates within the US have been at an all-time decrease since 2019. Although a high percentage of first-time marriages – 41% – end in divorces. However, the statistics show an increase in divorces from second and third marriages, 60% and 703%, respectively.
You would be intrigued to know that mothers are likelier to get custody of children – 50% – whereas almost 30% of the fathers have agreements on child support.
A couple’s drinking habits can be the cause of their divorce. Couples with similar patterns of alcohol consumption are likelier to remain married. However, if one partner has a higher level of alcohol consumption than the other, the marriage will likely end.
Divorces can be messy, or they can be mutually agreed upon. The best thing to do is hire a lawyer and make sure any children are protected. Knowing ‘what is a dissolution of marriage’ can help you see through this process smoothly.