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Is all property divisible in a divorce?

Going through a divorce is often difficult and may feel overwhelming. You may be faced with strong emotions, as well as the hard task of dividing up the property that was accumulated during the course of the marriage. Ohio is an equitable distribution of property state, meaning all marital property is divided in a fashion that is considered fair and equitable by a court-appointed judge. Although marital items, such as the family home, vehicle, furniture, assets and possessions may be split between you and your spouse, there are some items that may remain in the sole possession of the original owner.

Separate property often stays with the original owner in the case of a divorce. This includes the following types of property:

  •          Gifts given to either spouse by a third party.
  •          Inheritance money.
  •          Property owned prior to the marriage.
  •          Compensation gained from a personal injury case.

In order to stay separate, however, the property must not comingle with marital property. For example, if you received an inheritance during the course of your marriage and deposited that money in a shared bank account, that money may become marital and eligible for division in the settlement. Similarly, if your name is on the title to a home that you owned prior to becoming married and you add your spouse’s name to the title during the marriage, that property may be divided. You must keep the separate property in just your name to ensure it stays with you and is not distributed as marital property.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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