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Can You Have a Dissolution if You Have Kids?



In Ohio, a dissolution can be a simpler and considerably less expensive way to end a marriage than going through a divorce. If you have children, you can have a dissolution, but there are several things you need to consider before going through with a dissolution rather than a divorce proceeding. For some couples, a dissolution with children will work out, for others it will be too complicated and could lead to bigger problems. Consulting with an attorney experienced in dissolution in Columbus, Ohio should be your first step in deciding whether it will work for you.


Who Should Consider a Dissolution with Kids?


If you and your partner can agree on issues surrounding the dissolution of your marriage and see eye to eye on how you want to raise your children, you may be able to successfully file for a dissolution of marriage. This will save you the stress of a divorce proceeding, but it is still best to talk to a dissolution attorney in Columbus, Ohio before filing the paperwork. Your attorney can point out any potential problems in your separation agreement before you file it with the court.


The Parenting Plan


For a dissolution, you will have to provide a Separation Agreement along with your petition for the dissolution. If you have children, the Separation Agreement will also have to include a Parenting Plan that outlines how the child or children will be cared for and supported. The Parenting Plan should include:


  • Child support information—who will pay support and how much it will be

  • Details of who will claim the child for tax purposes and who will be responsible for future, unexpected financial responsibilities relating to the child

  • Health coverage information for the child—who will provide health insurance and what kind of coverage will be required

  • A schedule for physical custody and parenting time for both parents

  • Determination of either sole custody or shared parenting and how this will be achieved by both parties


Shared Parenting vs. Sole Custody


Keep in mind that the courts usually prefer a shared parenting plan over sole custody when ending any marriage. Shared parenting simply means that both parents have legal custody. (separate from visitation or division of parenting time). Any decisions about education, traveling, religious instruction and medical issues are to be made by both parents in a shared parenting plan.


Both parents will be considered legal guardians, although for practical reasons one parent may be designated as the residential parent for school enrollment purposes . Both parents will have access to medical and school records and will be able to participate in the children’s events. Sole custody means only one person is the decision maker for the child and not who has primary physical possession of the child. Keep in mind that the details of shared parenting and parenting time can be flexible if both parents work together. If necessary, consult with a dissolution attorney in Columbus, Ohio who can guide you through creating a parenting plan that works for both parents, and most importantly, the child(ren).


Things to Keep in Mind When Considering Dissolution with Kids


It is critical that both parents get along and are able to come to an amicable agreement regarding the care and living standards of their kids in order to create a Parenting Plan that works. Without this, a dissolution isn’t possible because the courts will have to be involved to settle any disputes about the children.


There are a few situations where a dissolution may not be the best choice for families. Keep in mind that if you and your spouse file for a dissolution, the courts will not force either parent to turn over financial records or other documents to the other person. You have to count on each other to be honest and exchange information voluntarily. You cannot file for a temporary order of support if you choose to file for a dissolution of marriage. A court order for temporary child support will not be put in place while you and your partner negotiate your Parenting Plan, so if you need immediate funds, you may want to file for divorce and temporary child support if the higher wage earner spouse is not financially supporting the lower wage earner spouse.


While it is always preferable for a couple to be able to work out the details of ending a marriage without acrimony, this can be difficult when children are involved. If you aren’t sure whether a dissolution with kids is the best option for you, talk to a dissolution attorney in Columbus, Ohio who can help you decide the best path for you and your children.

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