When choosing between Divorce and Dissolution it is important to understand that in a Divorce, the parties are in disagreement concerning at least one issue involved in the termination of the marriage, and therefore a Dissolution is not a legal option. In a Dissolution, the parties have agreed upon each and every issue prior to the filing of any action with the Court including but not limited to the division of marital assets, custody, parenting time (visitation), child support and spousal support (alimony). In a Dissolution, the parties enter into a Separation Agreement which specifies all of the terms of the termination of the marriage, and asks the Court to accept these terms and make them a final Order of the Court. A Dissolution is more economical and faster than a Divorce, as it can be completed within 60 days from the filing of the initial Petition for Dissolution with the Court.
On the other hand, a Divorce is initially an “adversarial” type of proceeding in which the parties are legally terminating their marital relationship, and are in disagreement as to at least one issue. In a Divorce, the parties may conduct extensive “discovery” to determine the value of assets and liabilities, find “hidden” assets, determine what is in “the “best interests” of the children, and determine the appropriate ground or reason for the divorce. The Court and parties will review and value all of the assets and debts of the parties, including separate, inherited, pre-marital, and marital assets and debts. The Court will divide and assign values to each and every marital asset and debt of the parties. The Court will also rule on all issues relating to the minor children of the parties including the future residence(s) and\or schools for the children, the parents’ involvement in decision making for the children, support for the children, medical insurance for the children, and the use of dependency exemptions. Divorce may also involve issues concerning support of the former Husband or Wife (Also see Spousal Support (Alimony)).
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At any time after the filing of a Divorce the parties may “settle” the pending issues and thus avoid the expense and time in having the Court “decide” or make Orders regarding those issues after an actual evidentiary trial. If the parties settle, they may agree upon the terms of an Agreed Order and ask the Court to approve said terms. In a contested Divorce trial, the parties present evidence to the Court on all disputed issues. These issues could range from “every” issue which could possibly be before the Court, to the submission of just 1 issue such as “custody”, or the valuation of marital interest in a particular asset such as a family business. It is absolutely critical for anyone involved in the termination of a marriage to obtain experienced legal advice when trying to figure out whether a Dissolution or Divorce is best for them.
The Law Office of Anthony W. Greco is committed to providing each and every Client with professional, aggressive and practical representation, while being sensitive to the Client’s unique concerns and goals. With more than 25 years of experience, our firm is equipped to deal with all issues involved in choosing Divorce or Dissolution, and whether Divorce or Dissolution is best for your case.