A Dissolution of marriage is a termination of marriage by way of agreement. Essentially, the parties work with their respective attorneys to resolve all issues in the marriage (property, custody, support, etc.).
What does a separation agreement cover?
Once an agreement is reached, the parties will enter into a “separation agreement” that sets out an agreement on the division of property and debts and whether support will be exchanged. If there are children, there will also need to be an agreement regarding the care, custody, and support of those children. In a dissolution, just as in every divorce, the help of actuaries, appraisers, and other professionals to aid in valuing assets may be required.
What happens at the final hearing?
Once the agreements have been executed, they are then filed with the court and the matter will be set for a final hearing. At the final hearing, the Judge reviews the agreement(s) – the terms and conditions of the property settlement and the provisions regarding the care, custody and control. Judges generally approve a settlement unless the terms of the agreement appear completely unfair to one party.
How does a dissolution differ from a divorce?
A dissolution differs from a divorce in several aspects. Since the parties agree on all issues, the court assumes they are familiar with each other’s property and financial holdings. Therefore, each party does not need to undergo a discovery or investigation process unless they volunteer to do so.
Second, since no actions are pending before the court, there are no temporary orders regarding child support, debt payment or other issues.
Third, both parties are not always represented by an attorney. While each party has the option to retain counsel, they can choose to proceed with just one attorney who will draft the required documentation and file it with the court. This attorney cannot legally represent both parties, so one party will have to file a waiver of representation along with all other required documents.
When is Dissolution the best option?
Dissolution is not a viable option if there is disagreement as to any issue. However, if all issues can be agreed upon prior to entering the court system, a dissolution will provide for a quick and orderly resolution of all matters without the need for numerous court appearances.