Equitable Distribution Does Not Necessarily Mean Equal
The court will begin with the presumption that the most equitable kind of distribution is an even split. However, spouses may bring arguments as to why an even split is not necessarily equitable. Equitable here means fair. There are a number of reasons why an equal distribution may not be fair. There may be considerations such as child support and alimony that will also need to be taken into account. Furthermore, there are a number of other factors that the court will consider when dividing property. These include:
- The relative earning power of each spouse. In cases where there is a large disparity in the earning power of one spouse versus another, the court will seek to ensure that the spouse without a great deal of earning power is cared for. This is particularly true when one spouse has devoted their time to raising children and keeping house. It will be assumed that this spouse will also have primary custody of the children, so child support and alimony will play a role as well.
- How much the marital property is worth. The judge will need to consider the overall value of the marital property when determining whether a 50/50 split will put a spouse with less earning power in a difficult financial situation.
- Whether it makes financial sense to keep the assets together or divide them. If by dividing an asset, the asset loses value or it doesn’t make financial sense to divide an asset, the judge will have to make a determination as to whether or not it should remain with one or the other spouse. Real estate, for example, is not necessarily an asset you want to divide.
- Fault in a divorce. The court can consider fault in Ohio. By pursuing a fault-based marriage, you can essentially leverage the other spouse in issues such as custody and property division. This becomes an important factor to consider when a judge rules on issues such as property division and alimony.
When a divorce goes through litigation, each spouse is required to submit their assets to the court. In this case, that information becomes public record. For obvious reasons and especially in high asset divorces, divorcing couples will not want to make their financials public. In order to avoid this, the couple will mediate the process of dividing assets. In other words, they won’t force the court to rule on property division, alimony, and other issues.
On the other hand, the couple will require a court ruling when it comes to issues of child custody. The court will preside over the decision in order to determine the best interests of the child.