Equitable Division Of Property In Divorce
Equitable division is the rule when it comes to distribution of marital property in Ohio. Our courts start with a presumption that equitable means equal. However, a judge can decide that an unequal division is “equitable” based on the facts of your case.
At the law firm of Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson in Columbus, Ohio, our lawyers will represent your property interests in divorce and ensure that you receive everything you are entitled to under Ohio law.
What Is Marital Property?
Marital property includes all assets and debts you accumulated during your marriage such as:
- Retirement funds like pension plans and 401(k) accounts
- Family-owned businesses
- Mortgages and any other marital debt
- Real estate
- Financial accounts
- Credit card bills
- Personal belongings such as coin collections, jewelry, artwork and furniture
Often, simply dividing each individual asset and liability does not result in an outcome that protects the value of the assets or minimizes the impact of the liability. Through our experience and the use of experts, our lawyers can help you obtain a reasonable and logical distribution of assets and liabilities that maximizes the benefit to both parties.
What About Gifts And Inheritances?
Gifts and inheritances, as well as assets owned prior to marriage, are not considered marital property in Ohio and typically remain the property of the recipient or owner. However, it is the responsibility of the party claiming the asset is nonmarital to adequately prove that the asset was a gift or an inheritance or was owned prior to marriage.
How Spousal Support Is Determined
Spousal support (also known as alimony) is up to the discretion of the court. In determining whether one side should pay the other spousal support, the court must consider 14 statutory factors such as length of marriage, disparity of income, total assets, the age of each party and the earning ability of each party. Based upon the assessment of the statutory factors, the court will determine whether spousal support is appropriate and, if so, how much and for how long.
Courts typically order spousal support when the parties have been married for at least five years, when there is a large disparity in incomes and when factors exist that are likely to make it difficult for a party to be financially self-sufficient. However, courts may order alimony in short-term marriages such as in the case of a stay-at-home mom with young children.
Tax advantages of alimony: Because spousal support is no longer tax-deductible by the paying party or taxable income for the receiving party, it is important to give careful consideration to the amount of taxes the paying party will have to pay when determining the appropriate amount of support. For spousal support orders issued prior to January 1, 2019, even if modified after that date, the support is tax deductible by the paying party and taxable income for the receiving party. So in cases where a pre-January 1, 2019 support order is being modified it is still important to keep the tax effects in mind when determining the new amount of support. In many cases, the party paying support saves more on taxes than the receiving party has to pay on the amount received, which results in a financial benefit to both parties. At Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson, our attorneys use specialized software and financial experts to determine the most beneficial way to structure spousal support.