If you are planning to file for divorce in Columbus, or if you are currently considering a divorce in the future, it is important for you to understand how marital property will be divided in your case and what courts mean when they refer to equitable distribution. Ohio is what is known as an “equitable distribution” state, like many other states in the U.S. As an equitable distribution state, courts divide marital property between spouses during a divorce case in a manner that the court determines to be “equitable” to both spouses, or fair to both of them given the circumstances of the marriage and their post-divorce situations. Yet there is more to understand about equitable distribution, and our Columbus divorce lawyers can help.
Equitable Does Not Mean Equal
Under Ohio law, you should know that “equitable” does not mean “equal.” Rather, equitable distribution is one that is fair based on the facts of the divorce case. Yet the distribution of marital property certainly can be equal. According to the statute, “the division of marital property shall be equal” unless “an equal division of marital property would be inequitable.” The court considers a variety of factors, in determining what kind of distribution of property would be fair, including the following cited in Ohio law:
- Duration of the marriage;
- Assets and liabilities of the spouses;
- 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;
- Liquidity of the property to be distributed;
- Economic desirability of retaining intact an asset or an interest in an asset;
- Tax consequences of the property division upon the respective awards to be made to each spouse;
- Costs of the sale, if it is necessary that an asset be sold to effectuate an equitable distribution of property;
- Any division or disbursement of property made in a separation agreement that was voluntarily entered into by the spouses;
- Any retirement benefits of the spouses, excluding the social security benefits of a spouse except as may be relevant for purposes of dividing a public pension; and
- Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable.
Only Marital Property Will Be Distributed
You should know that only marital property will be distributed in a Columbus divorce. Property is classified as either separate property or marital property, and separate property is not divisible. Most assets acquired prior to the date of the marriage, or through a gift or inheritance during the marriage, will be classified as separate property while most other assets and debts will be classified as marital property.
Seek Advice from a Divorce Attorney in Columbus
Do you need assistance with property division in your Columbus divorce? One of our experienced Columbus divorce attorneys can speak with you today about your circumstances. We can help to determine how specific assets and debts are likely to be classified, and we can help you to obtain a fair distribution of the property acquired during your marriage. Contact Lawrence Law Office today to find out more about how we can help with your Ohio divorce case.