Dissolution of marriage is a process that legally terminates a marriage or civil union. It is very similar to divorce in many respects. The process for dissolution is generally no-fault, meaning that neither party needs to show evidence of wrongdoing in order to file for the dissolution. In contrast, divorce sometimes requires a showing of fault. Also, dissolution generally requires for both parties to agree on most legal issues related to divorce, such as child custody and the division of financial assets, whereas a divorce may be contested and involve disputes about several matters.

What Is a Marital Dissolution Agreement?

A dissolution agreement is generally required for married couples that are filing for dissolution of marriage. This agreement lays out the terms that are agreed upon by the partners. It is written by the couple themselves and their lawyers.

What Should a Dissolution Agreement Cover?

The exact details to be covered in a dissolution agreement may vary according to state laws, and according to each individual case. However, most dissolution agreements will address:

  • Whether alimony is being requested, and a figure for how much
  • Issues related to distribution of property, including real estate, vehicles, business assets, securities, and other types of property
  • Issues related to children, such as child support, child custody and visitation
  • Whether any reasons are being stated for the dissolution

The dissolution agreement may also cover other issues as well. As mentioned above, this will all depend on state laws, and in some cases it may depend on specific instructions from the judge.

When Will the Dissolution Agreement Take Effect?

Once the agreement is finalized, the parties can usually file for dissolution of marriage. In some states, at least one party must have been a resident in the state of filing for some time, usually six months. Also, some jurisdictions require that the parties have been living apart for some time before they can file for the dissolution. Marriage dissolution legal disputes are common, and often arise due to the parties’ inability to reach conclusions on various terms. If disputes do arise, they will need to be resolved in or out of court before the dissolution can be finalized and the agreement can take effect.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Dissolution Agreement?

Dissolution agreements should be drafted carefully and reviewed to ensure that they are meeting the requirements.  You may need to hire a divorce lawyer if you need assistance with a dissolution agreement, and with any court proceedings.  Your attorney can provide you with the legal advice and representation needed during your court hearings.