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Is real estate always subject to divorce claims?

Real estate is a valuable asset for many Ohio residents, so in the event a couple decides to divorce, a piece of property owned by one of the spouses might be claimed as co-owned by the other party and is entitled to a piece of it. The question of real estate can be tricky in a divorce proceeding, so discerning whether property is not subject to divorce claims is important.

According to the Findlaw website, Ohio law considers all property a couple acquires during a marriage to be marital property. If property is designated to be marital property, it can be divided during a divorce proceeding. State law defines a marriage as the period after the start of the marriage all the way through the last hearing of a divorce action or a legal separation. Thus, any piece of real estate acquired by one or both spouses during this time period is considered to be marital property and is fair game during a divorce. Additionally, marital property includes the interest any spouse holds in personal property or in a piece of real estate.

However, not all real estate is necessarily considered marital property under state law. Some exceptions do exist. For example, if a spouse acquired a piece of real estate, personal property, or an interest in a property before the marriage, it is not considered marital property and is not subject to a divorce claim. The same standard applies if a spouse receives passive income or interest from a piece of separate property.

Additionally, an inheritance a spouse receives is considered to be separate property. The two spouses may also exempt real estate from divorce proceedings through a prenuptial agreement. Finally, gifts given to one spouse are not subject to claims from a spouse in the event of a divorce, although it should be shown clearly that the gift was in fact only given to one spouse.

This article is intended to inform readers on the topic of real estate and divorce, and is not to be taken as legal advice. 

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