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Ohio Property Division 101: Separate Vs. Marital Property

Ohio courts use the principle of “equitable distribution” when dividing property and debt in a divorce. There are two types of property in a marriage - marital and separate. The only type of property that is eligible to be divided during the divorce process is marital property. However, it is essential to understand how to differentiate between the two in order to correctly determine how your property will be divided in the divorce.

What is Marital Property?

Under Ohio’s equitable distribution of property principle, marital property is subject to division in a divorce. It is the property that both spouses acquired during

Marital property includes:

  • Real and personal property that either spouse acquired during the marriage (including retirement benefits).
  • Any interest that either spouse has in real or personal property that was acquired during the marriage (also including retirement benefits).
  • Income and appreciation on the separate property due to the labor, monetary, or other types of contribution from either spouse that occurred during the marriage.
  • Participant accounts in state and municipal deferred compensation plans of either spouse during the marriage, as stated in the Ohio equitable distribution statute.

Marital property does not include separate property.

What is Separate Property?

Separate property is the real or personal property stated below that either spouse owned separately. Typically most separate property includes any asset or debt that was acquired prior to marriage, but there are a few exceptions.

Separate property includes:

  • An inheritance that was given to one spouse during the marriage.
  • Property that was acquired prior to the date of marriage.
  • The passive income and appreciation of one spouse’s separate property during the marriage.
  • Any property that was acquired by a spouse after getting a legal separation.
  • Property that was listed as separate in a valid antenuptial (prenuptial) agreement.
  • A spouse’s compensation for personal injury, except when there was a loss of income during the marriage and marital assets were used to pay for expenses.
  • A gift of property that is made during the marriage and is explicitly proven with clear evidence to have been given to only one spouse.

Separate property is solely the individual spouse’s property and will always remain separate from marital property in Ohio. It cannot be commingled with another type of property (like marital) unless there is no evidence to trace the separate property back to the original source.

Dividing Marital Property in Your Columbus Divorce

If you need assistance with determining which of your property is considered separate or marital, don’t hesitate to reach out to our knowledgeable Columbus divorce attorneys at Law Offices of William L. Geary.

Call our team today at (614) 289-1227 to set up an initial consultation with our Columbus family law firm.

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