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What's the difference between marital and separate property?

When a couple gets divorced in Ohio, property division becomes a necessity. Ohio is not a state that recognizes community property. Instead, it divides property through equitable distribution, like most other states. Your property will thus fall into two categories: marital and separate property.

According to FindLaw, marital property is anything that a couple acquires together during the marriage, from the start of the marriage until the final hearing of the separation. This includes money from public employee participant accounts, interests that either or both of you have in personal property or real estate, and any real or personal property you own. This can include retirement benefits or any income on separate property that your spouse helped purchase or maintain.

On the other hand, separate property is excluded from the division process. It includes real estate, interest or personal property that you acquired before the marriage, or any inheritance passed down to you at any point. It also includes real or personal property that has been excluded through a prenuptial agreement, passive interest or income from a separate property that you are the sole owner of, or gifts that were given to you over the course of the marriage by your ex-partner.

Despite clear laws that govern property division, exemptions can make it difficult to know exactly where you stand. For this reason, you may want to consider seeking an experienced divorce attorney who can help you determine what property must be split and what you can keep for yourself.

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