Equitable Distribution

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Delaware, Ohio Equitable Distribution Attorneys

Equitable Distribution specialists with over 59 years of experience.

Ohio Equitable Distribution Lawyers

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.

How Marital Property is Divided?

For a property to be fairly divided, the court must look at a number of different factors and make a determination on a case-by-case basis. Once a court makes a determination of what property is separate property and what is marital, then it must divide up the marital property based on state law. In Ohio, the court will divide the property based on what is fair, which may not always be equal to both spouses, according to the laws of community property states. The court will determine whether there needs to be a distributive award, meaning one spouse pays the other for the value of the asset, or whether an equitable division would be possible.

who gets the house after the divorceMany assets are relatively easy to evaluate to determine their worth, but for those assets that are unique, have sentimental value, or have been passed down over time to an individual, determining their value might be more difficult. If a couple has assets that are unique, they can seek the assistance of a qualified expert to determine the value. A qualified expert will evaluate the asset and give an estimated worth to the court to divide. Other assets such as pensions or ownership interest may need the assistance of a financial expert who can assess the history and provide value.

When dividing the property, the court assesses factors such as the liabilities and debts of the spouses as well as their assets and entitlements, whether either spouse seeks to stay in the home as well as how easy it will be to sell depending on the market and what their estimated compensation may be, the cost of a sale as well as any property division voluntarily made in separation agreements.

Additionally, the court will determine any significant financial misconduct impacting the couple, as well as significant losses resulting from gambling, illegal drug use, infidelity, or failure to disclose an asset during the divorce proceeding. It is also important to note that Ohio does not consider assets owned before the marriage, gifts made to one spouse, inheritance, or personal injury proceeds as includable in marital property.

Should You Remain in Your Marital Home?

The family home is one piece of property over which a divorcing couple will often battle. In addition to the cash value of the home, the sentimental value may influence both party’s desire to keep the home. However, once the divorce is finalized and tempers have cooled, it is always a good idea to think about the pros and cons associated with maintaining your recently won residence.

The decision to remain in the marital home after the divorce is over could significantly influence your personal and financial future.

  • Can You Afford it? Affordability should be your primary concern when deciding if you should stay in your marital home after a divorce. Once the divorce is finalized, it is normal for an adult to be short on cash and overwhelmed by the responsibility of managing a household with only one income. If you were a stay-at-home parent who is awarded spousal support or a parent now receiving child support, your available funds are often finite and depend solely on whether or not your former spouse makes timely payments. Before committing to staying in your home, calculate how much money you will need to pay your mortgage, utilities, purchase necessities, and keep your household solvent without aid.
  • Are There Tax Benefits? Owning a home usually means that you are able to receive multiple tax benefits that are not available to renters. After a divorce, the mortgage interest, property taxes, and other property-related tax write-offs can be beneficial. If you decide to sell your home and move into an apartment or into a home with other friends or family, those potential tax benefits are lost. Remember, a house is an asset that provides more tax benefits than most other purchases, and after your divorce, you will be the sole beneficiary of those tax perks.
  • What are the Alternatives? The most important thing to ask yourself before initiating the sale of your house is what are the alternatives to living in your current home. Will you be able to afford another house? Will you need to move into an apartment? Though downgrading is usually a good way to save money, it is possible that the area you want to live in does not have any desirable properties that are less expensive than your current residence. The last thing you want to do is move into a less attractive residence that gives you no financial benefits.
  • Talk to an Attorney. Before making any choices regarding what assets you want to keep during a divorce based on your post-divorce plans, it is best to talk to an attorney. An equitable distribution attorney will help you review marital assets and decide what property is beneficial to you in the long run.

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I was in a terrible custody dispute with my ex. I was very upset and afraid of my ex. Rodd listened to everything I said and remembered everything I said. He was aggressive in court and used the information I gave him very well. We won the case and my ex has backed off.

anonymous

I wanted an easy divorce from my wife. She wanted a fight. Rodd and I discussed fair terms for a dissolution. Because he was pro active and stayed on top of the case, my wife and I finally reached an agreement and had a dissolution. I highly recommend Rodd.

anonymous

I hired Linda Lawrence because I have a business and I wanted to protect it in my divorce. Linda is top notch and knows about business finance and assets. I was able to keep my business and not have to pay my wife anything from it. Hire her.

Linda

I hired Linda Lawrence because I needed an aggressive attorney. Linda was able to stand up against the other attorney and was very aggressive in court. It was an expensive divorce case, but that was because the other attorney was very aggressive and Linda was very thorough. I had great results in my case and highly recommend Linda.

Joy
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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 Delaware 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.

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When working through your divorce with an Ohio family law attorney, chances are your divorce agreement made allowances for child support. spousal support or

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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...

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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...

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Dividing the Little Things

Courts are well versed in assisting couples in dividing their marital assets. There is the law and substantial case law that informs how the marital home, automobiles, 401k plans, pensions, retirement accounts, bank accounts, businesses or business interests, and brokerage accounts get divided among the divorcing spouses. While a difficult process, the outcome is a fair distribution of the marital assets.

When it comes to the little things, however, the divorcing couple is on their own. Many attorneys draft clauses in the settlement agreement that the parties will divide all personal property or the little things on their own. Courts too often refuse to make decisions on the division of small items because it is time-consuming and the items themselves have little monetary value and are more emotionally valuable to the divorcing spouses than anything else.   

Sweating the Small Stuff

No one likes uncertainty. When it comes time to divide the personal items you and your spouse collected during your marriage, refer to these guidelines often – particularly when the process becomes overwhelming.

  • Keep in mind that the little things are not simple or trivial but laden with emotions.
  • Items and personal effects have different meanings to different people. Just because you think it is trash does not mean your spouse does not treasure the item.
  • Conflict will happen but it can be managed.
  • Doing nothing is not an option.
  • Limit personal contact. Emotional trauma and spite should be left out of the process entirely.
  • Give and take.
  • Ask your spouse what he or she wants ahead of time.

Create a Division System

Prior to dividing the little things, the divorcing couple should set up some rules and parameters on how items are to be selected, or a division system. The idea behind this is that if you buy into the process, you are more likely to buy into the outcome, even if you do not get everything that you want.

If you stick to a system you both create then you will not tear each other apart when you try to divide the assets.

A Note on Spiteful Decisions

A woman in New York took two crystal chandelier fixtures when she moved out of the marital residence during her divorce proceedings. They were worth $300,000, and she sold them for $13,000.

The judge in the matter was not happy with her behavior and ordered the value of the chandeliers to be deducted from the 5-million-dollar, lump-sum payment she was owed under the prenuptial agreement. In the end, her spiteful actions only hurt her. If possible, leave emotional trauma and spite out of the when dividing marital assets.