When you go through a divorce in Columbus, all marital property will need to be divided between the spouses. The process for property division can seem daunting, especially if you have concerns about particular assets or you want to keep specific items after your divorce. It is important to know that Ohio courts divide marital property, which includes both assets and debts, based on what is fair to both spouses. Courts can look at many different factors and particularities of the marriage to determine what is fair. Our Columbus divorce lawyers can provide you with more information and can help you to understand more about how property division is likely to work in your specific case.
Courts Must Classify Property Before They Can Divide It
Before a court can divide any property, it must have full and complete information about all property owned by the spouses. Then, according to Ohio law, the court will classify the property as separate property or marital property. Generally speaking, separate property includes any assets or debts acquired by either spouse before the marriage or acquired during the marriage through a third-party gift or inheritance. Separate property is not divisible in an Ohio divorce. Any property that is not separate property is marital property and will be divided.
Sometimes spouses “commingle” property, which means they mix separate property with marital property. Commingling can occur in situations, for example, when separate assets are used to improve a marital home or to pay off a marital debt. When there is commingled property, the court will work to trace out what portion is separate and which is marital.
Marital Assets and Debts Get Divided Equitably Between the Parties
After the property has been classified, all marital assets and debts will be divided based on the theory of equitable distribution. It is important to understand that the word “equitable” does not mean “equal.” To be sure, property is rarely divided 50-50 between the spouses, or equally. Rather, it is divided in a manner that the court considers to be fair after looking at a variety of factors from the marriage. Courts can consider such factors as, for example, the health and earning capacity of both spouses, contributions to the household during the marriage, and other contributions by either spouse.
Marital Settlement Agreement May Be Possible
If you want to negotiate with your spouse to determine how marital assets and debts will be divided instead of leaving the equitable distribution of marital property up to the court, you may be able to enter into a marital settlement agreement. However, if you want to settle with your spouse, it is critical to have a Columbus divorce attorney on your side who can make sure that the terms are fair to you.
Contact Our Columbus Divorce Lawyers Today
If you need help with your divorce case in Columbus or have questions about property division, do not hesitate to get in touch with our experienced Columbus divorce attorneys. We can provide you with more information about equitable distribution and other aspects of Ohio divorce. Contact the Lawrence Law Office today for more information.