In Ohio Revised Code 3105.64 in regards to a petition for marriage dissolution it says, “A) Except as provided in division (B) or (C) of this section, not less than thirty nor more than ninety days after the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage, both spouses shall appear before the court, and each spouse shall acknowledge under oath that that spouse voluntarily entered into the separation agreement appended to the petition, that that spouse is satisfied with its terms, and that that spouse seeks dissolution of the marriage.” (emphasis mine)
During our separation when Sharon was asking for a dissolution of our marriage I did not see how I could go into a court of law and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and answer yes to the question that I wanted my marriage dissolved. I absolutely did not want my marriage dissolved and every one who knew me knew that. So in all good conscience I could not ask the court to dissolve my marriage.
Even if she and I had hammered away on a separation agreement and agreed to all the terms about child custody and visitation and financial matters, I am not sure how I could have ever said yes that I was satisfied with its terms. No matter what it looked like, I did not want a separation agreement. We could have split every thing down to the penny and had joint custody with each of us having the kids 3 and 1/2 days per week and I don’t think I would have been satisfied, because I truly believed the best thing and most godly thing for our children was for us to stay together.
As for swearing to the court that I had voluntarily entered into a separation agreement – I don’t think I could have said yes to that either. The only reason I would have even considered signing a separation agreement was from threats of divorce, which is not what I wanted so I really don’t see how that is voluntary. If the word voluntary means that no one had a physical gun to my head, I guess I could have voluntarily agreed to the separation agreement.
Basically, I realized that legally I was giving Sharon no option to get out of our marriage except to pursue a full blown divorce case, but I saw no way to truthfully answer yes to all three questions. Thankfully, I continued to say no to a dissolution and she never filed for divorce and with God’s help we reconciled.
For anyone who is in a situation in which their spouse is pushing for a dissolution and threatening divorce if a dissolution is not signed, I encourage you to really think through whatever statements your state requires you to swear to for a dissolution. If you cannot answer those questions truthfully, then I encourage much prayer and soul searching before your next steps.