One of the most contentious areas of a divorce is property division. This is particularly true for those who have amassed a large number of assets with their spouses over the years.
Part of the reason for the challenges that comes with the distribution of assets is that people do not understand property division law in Ohio. Here is a glimpse at how courts in the Buckeye State handle the distribution of property during divorce.
Ohio, an equitable distribution state
Most of the property that you and your future ex-spouse acquire is deemed marital property, and therefore, you have to divide it during your divorce. Because Ohio is an equitable distribution state, the divorce court will divide your marital property in a manner that it considers fair, or equitable. This is different from what happens in a few other states across the country, called community property states, where jointly owned assets are split 50/50.
What are examples of marital property?
Marital property in Ohio includes any real estate or personal property that both you and the other party own, including retirement benefits. It also includes all interest you have in personal property or real estate. Furthermore, your incomes are considered marital property.
What about separate property?
Separate property that belongs either to you or to your future ex is not subject to property division. Here are some examples of separate property:
- Inheritance by you or the other party
- A gift that you or the other party receive during your marriage
- Any personal property or real estate that either you or your spouse acquired before getting married
- Any personal property or real estate excluded via a prenuptial agreement -- a contract you created prior to your marriage
- Interest or passive income generated from separate property
However, if you comingle any of your separate property with marital property -- for instance, you put your inheritance in your joint bank account -- it automatically becomes marital property.
Your rights during property division in divorce
If you and the other party can find common ground about how to split your property, you can reach a mutually satisfactory settlement outside of court. However, if you cannot agree on how to divide your assets, a court must make these decisions for you. In both situations, it is within your rights to seek the most personally beneficial property distribution outcome given the facts of your divorce case.