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Understanding Property Division in Ohio

Coming to an agreement about how your property and assets will be divided once you file for a divorce isn’t always a simple task. Unlike some states, Ohio is not a community property state, meaning your marital property falls under equitable distribution.

Equitable Distribution

Equitable distribution means the court will divide your assets by whatever they deem to be fair. This doesn’t always result in a 50/50 split. In some circumstances, one spouse will be awarded more marital property than the other.

Since Ohio doesn’t follow the community property model, you and your spouse will have the opportunity to come to an agreement and split everything amongst yourselves or let the court decide how your property is split.

The advantage of making an agreement to split everything yourself is that you will be able to negotiate for the things you want and are important to you. Make a list of the assets and properties you would like to keep and share it with your spouse. Once you and your spouse come to an agreement, you can take them to your divorce lawyers, and they can share yours with the court.

If you and your ex can’t agree on what you want to divide, your attorney can negotiate with the court on your behalf. Under equitable distribution, the court will consider a number of factors when dividing marital property:

  • If you were married for at least 10 years.

  • Both party’s assets and liabilities.

  • Both party’s incomes and taxes.

  • If you reached an agreement to divide property outside of court.

  • The value of your assets.

The court will work to divide your property as fairly as possible, but there are two categories that your property will fall under once you go through equitable distribution. Courts will categorize your property as marital property or separate property.

How is Marital Property Divided?

In Ohio, marital property is all property you acquired during the marriage. Before the court begins the process of dividing property, you will need to inform the court on what property belongs to you together and separately.

Marital property is considered to be jointly owned unless you have a legal form of documentation that proves sole ownership like an invoice, deed, or will from an inheritance.

Marital property can include:

  • Personal property you obtained while you were married.

  • The income you made while you were married.

  • Retirement benefits that you acquired while you were married.

How is Separate Property Divided?

In Ohio, separate property is any nonmarital property you had ownership of before the marriage. This can include gifts or an inheritance you received while you were married.

You should be transparent about the assets you own separately to avoid potentially losing them to your spouse. For example, if you own the title to a car your spouse isn’t aware of, you can’t transfer the title to someone else like a family member to avoid disclosing about the car in hopes of keeping it after your divorce.

The court will evaluate all of your separate assets, which can include:

  • An investment property you bought before the marriage.

  • An investment property you bought before your marriage, and its value increased during the marriage.

  • Any property you bought after a legal separation.

  • A gift that was only given to you that wasn’t intended for you to share with your spouse.

After the court finalizes your divorce, your separate property remains separate as long as your spouse can’t prove that they’re entitled to half.

How a Columbus Family Law Attorney Can Help

If you’re ready to file for a divorce, and you need help dividing your assets or requesting assets from your spouse, our skilled attorneys at Law Offices of William L. Geary are ready to assist you.

Call our office today at (614) 289-1227 to schedule a consultation.

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