If you are a married Ohio resident facing a divorce, you probably are concerned about the way in which the assets and debts that you and your spouse have accumulated during your marriage will be distributed between you when your divorce takes place. You also may have heard about community property and are wondering if Ohio recognizes community property and, if so, exactly what it is and how it works.
As FindLaw explains, Ohio is not a community property state. Instead, per Section 3105.171 of the Ohio Revised Code, we have a different way of distributing marital assets and debts when a marriage breaks up.
Community property vs. equitable distribution
In a community property state, all assets and debts accumulated by a couple during their marriage are considered to be jointly owned by the couple regardless of who actually acquired them. In Ohio, however, these assets and debts, while marital property, are not necessarily community property.
Your marital property consists of many things, including the following:
- The real estate and personal property that either or both of you owns, including retirement benefits
- The deferred compensation accounts that either of you have
- The income and/or appreciation produced by the separate property that each of you owns if that income and/or appreciation is attributable to the other spouse’s contribution of money, labor, etc.
In Ohio, this marital property must be equitably distributed between you and your spouse upon divorce, but that does not necessarily mean that it must be divided in a 50-50 manner. If you can show that you need or deserve a greater portion and why that is so, you may get it.
Some property belongs to you and you alone and is considered to be your own separate property. For instance, anything that you owned prior to entering into your marriage is yours. In addition, the following things acquired during your marriage are your separate property:
- Any money or personal property you received by inheritance
- Anything you received as a gift
- All income and/or interest from property you owned prior to your marriage
- Anything that your prenuptial agreement, if you have one, specifies as your separate property
This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.