Divorce can be a difficult and overwhelming time in anyone’s life. Like the emotional hurdles, the legal requirements can be confusing and messy. A firm understanding of the divorce laws that govern Ohio can help you avoid any surprises regarding the division of your marital property. Let’s take a moment to define the standard terms of property division in a divorce and discuss what you’re likely to expect.
When a couple divorces, the court assumes all assets and property acquired during the marriage to be shared property. This includes items you’d expect like cars, houses, real estate, and jewelry. But it also includes more complicated things like retirement funds, interest gained on assets, income from the labor of either spouse on a family business, and more.
Separate property can include assets acquired before the date of the marriage, gifts or inheritances during the marriage, and of course, any property acquired after a decree of legal separation. Separate property will usually be awarded to the owner and not subject to division.
How Does The Court Determine The Value Of A Marital Asset?
Some assets are easily valued, like bank accounts or publicly traded stocks. These assets are simply divided 50/50. Other assets like homes, cars, or jewelry may require the help of appraisers to be fairly divided. The process becomes even more complicated when the couple shares a family business. In that case, the court may retain the services of an accountant or other financial expert to determine the amount of income the business has produced since the date of the wedding. Alternatively, the business could be sold, and each spouse could receive an equal share of the profit.
How Does The Court Determine The Value Of Retirement Accounts?
There are two types of retirement plans. The first is a defined contribution plan in which an individual contributes a set amount over time, like a 401k. These are divided by calculating the plan’s growth since the date of the marriage. The other is a defined benefit plan, like a pension. These can be trickier to divide since they are based on a formula utilized by the employer. Defined benefit plans can be divided at the time of divorce or when the individual begins to receive the funds. Typically financial experts are needed to make assumptions about the plan’s future growth.
If you are considering divorce or have more questions about the division of assets, call Garretson & Holcomb, LLC at (513) 863-6600.