Marital assets: Who gets what in an Ohio divorce?

When people file for divorce in Ohio, they must divide marital property through equitable division.

Whether a couple is married for several months, years or decades, they amass property and assets that must be divided once they file for divorce in Ohio. For some, this can be a somewhat difficult process, as many people have certain things that they want to hold onto. Other couples may be able to divide marital assets and property without legal intervention through mediation. Whatever the method may be, property division can often be one of the most difficult parts of divorce.

Equitable distribution

While some states in the nation split marital property equally in half between spouses, Ohio follows an equitable division of property model of asset distribution. This means that the judge who is presiding over the case will carefully consider certain factors before determining who is entitled to what in the divorce settlement. When heading into the divorce process, it is crucial that people understand what factors the judge will look at, as well as the difference between marital and separate property.

A look at the contributing factors

According to Ohio statutes, the court-appointed judge will look at the following when choosing who gets what in the final divorce settlement. These factors include:

  • How long the marriage lasted.
  • Whether children are involved and which parent has primary custody of the kids.
  • How much each party contributed to the acquirement of the property.
  • Each party's current employment, as well as their education and employability.

The judge may also look at whether one party put his or her career or education on hold in order to benefit the other party.

Property excluded from division

Couples should keep in mind that not all property may be eligible for division in a divorce case. Separate property includes assets that a spouse may have owned prior to becoming married. Also, any inheritance that was awarded or gift that was given by a third party to a spouse before, during or after the marriage may also be considered separate property.

Separate property that is combined with marital property may lose its separate property status. For example, if the title to a property was changed to include the names of both spouses, that property may be considered marital rather than separate. In addition, any separate assets that are deposited into a joint bank account with the other spouse may be split between the couple.

Getting the help you need

Whether you have already entered into the divorce process or you are simply considering terminating your marriage, you might have several questions regarding what path you should choose. You may want to speak with a family attorney in Ohio regarding your rights and legal options.