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In-Court Divorce Is Not Your Only Option

Terminating a relationship inevitably involves some degree of stress or pain. It is the end of a fond dream, no matter how you go about it. But the law provides several ways to exit from a marriage, apart from the usual court-based divorce.

This section examines other ways we can help you to bring your marriage to an end, short of contested divorce.

Marriage Dissolution

Our lawyers can guide you through every step of the marriage dissolution process. The first step is to negotiate and draft a separation agreement and a shared parenting plan containing all of the terms the parties have agreed to. The next step is to prepare all of the other documents that are required to file the case with the court. The final step is to conduct the final dissolution hearing, during which the judge confirms that the parties understand and are in agreement with the terms of the separation agreement and shared parenting plan; that the parties both wish to end the marriage; and then, grants the dissolution of the marriage and signs the  final decree.

Collaborative Law

The collaborative process is an alternative way to conduct the marriage dissolution process, that requires both parties to be represented by an attorney and that both parties and their attorneys work as a group to gather all of the information necessary to address all of the relevant issues and to negotiate a settlement agreement that is fair and acceptable to both parties. A collaborative law case differs from a simple dissolution in that both parties and their attorneys must execute a contractual agreement stating that they will not abandon the collaborative case and initiate a contested divorce case. If one of the parties does decide to abandon the collaborative process and initiate a contested divorce, neither party may be represented by the same attorney that represented them in the collaborative case.


To have a marriage annulled, one spouse must establish one of six grounds for annulment. Requests for annulment must be brought within two years of the marriage or two years of discovering the reason why the marriage was not a real marriage. Property division is often less equitable in an annulment.

Our lawyers also assist with uncontested divorce, an affordable and low-key process in which no major issues require resolution.

Family law conducted respectfully — talk to the contested divorce lawyers at Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson, of Columbus, Ohio. Contact us at 380-217-3322.