Dividing the marital assets between divorcing people can be one of the most contentious issues during the entire divorce process. Ohio law allows the couple to work together with their attorneys to make their own decisions concerning property division. When this is impossible, as it often is, the court steps in and considers many laws and other factors in determining how the property will be divided. An Ohio family law attorney can help you present your case to the court.
Equitable distribution of marital property
Marital property is generally defined as all property that was accumulated during the course of the marriage, whether by the couple jointly or individually, including retirement benefits. Property that either party owned separately before the marriage, or that one of them inherited or collected for a personal injury settlement, are considered separate property. Gifts received by each party remain separate property even if the gift was made from one spouse to the other.
For the most part, separate property will remain separate. Marital property will be divided equitably. Equitable does not mean equal. Although the court may begin with the premise that the marital property will be divided equally, it will only follow that premise if an equal division is also equitable.
Call an Ohio family law attorney for assistance
At the Lawrence Law Office, we have the experience you need on your side. We prepare your case with the knowledge of the factors the court considers in determining what it deems an equitable distribution. Some of those factors, defined by Ohio law governing the way in which marital property is awarded, include, but are not limited to:
- The length of the marriage.
- If the family home is awarded to the spouse who will have custody of the children, as is often the case, there may be an offset of a property award to the other party
- The earning potential of each party.
- The type of property that needs to be divided.
- Whether one particular asset needs to remain intact so that an offset needs to be made in order to compensate for it.
- Tax consequences each party will experience as a result of certain property division decisions.
- The cost of a sale if any property needs to be sold.
- Retirement benefits each spouse will receive.
- Whether one party engaged in any financial misconduct.
- Whether either party has tried to hide any assets from the court.
- Any other relevant factor.
Unlike other states, a professional degree earned during the course of the marriage is not considered marital property. If there was a prenuptial agreement, the court will honor its terms concerning property division.
A Columbus OH family law attorney will review all your assets with you. You can work together to present to the court a proposed equitable division of assets. If you are unhappy with the court order that ultimately is issued, there may be grounds for an appeal.