When you are planning to file for divorce in Columbus or you are in the early stages of a divorce case, it can be difficult to know how you should approach the issue of property division. Under Ohio law, all marital property in a Columbus divorce will be divided between the spouses according to the theory of equitable distribution. What this means is that all property owned by both spouses will be classified either as separate property (and will not be divided) or as marital property (and will be subject to division). To determine an equitable distribution of the marital property, the court will consider a variety of factors that are specific to the marriage and each party’s situation. Equitable does not mean equal but instead refers to a distribution of marital assets and debts that is fair to both parties based on the circumstances. In many Columbus divorces, one or both of the parties very much wants to continue living in their marital home.
Should you try to keep your house in your Ohio divorce? And if so, what are the implications and financial consequences you should consider?
Equitable Distribution Factors Do Not Focus Solely On Real Property
When courts seek to equitably divide marital property in a divorce, they typically consider the value of all of the divisible property and distribute it in a manner that is fair to both spouses. Indeed, the statute makes clear that the court considers all “real and personal property” of the spouses as part of the property division process.
One of the factors that the court may use in determining what an equitable distribution of property could look like is “the desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to reside in the family home for reasonable periods of time, to the spouse with custody of the children of the marriage.” However, it is important to understand that this factor is one of many, and the statute emphasizes that the “court shall consider all” relevant factors when dividing marital assets and debts.
You May Be Able to Negotiate to Keep the House through a Marital Settlement Agreement
Since the process of property division does not have an explicit route for one spouse to simply keep the marital home after a divorce, a settlement may be necessary. Indeed, if you really want to keep your home after the divorce, you may be able to negotiate with your spouse and enter into a marital settlement agreement. Yet to keep the home as part of your settlement, you may need to give up other valuable property that could have more value in the long run.
Consider the Value and Upkeep Costs
When you are trying to decide whether to advocate for your right to keep your home after a divorce in Ohio, you should consider the value of the house in relation to other types of marital assets that you may need to give up in order to stay in your home. For example, the value of the house may decline in the coming years while the value of retirement assets may increase.
You should also consider upkeep costs of the home, and the possibility of increased taxes on the property as time goes on. Ultimately, it could make more sense financially to sell the marital home and to focus on other marital assets in your divorce.
Seek Advice from a Columbus Divorce Lawyer
If you have questions about keeping your house after your divorce, one of our experienced Columbus divorce lawyers can speak with you today. Contact Lawrence Law Office for more information.