Offering Experienced Help With Property Division Issues to West Chester, Mason and Hamilton Residents
Ohio is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that during a divorce, marital assets are to be divided equitably between spouses (unless the parties have signed a pre-marital agreement stating otherwise). In this process, “equitable” means neither equal nor even half, but rather what’s deemed to be fair. Ohio law defines “marital assets” as all assets accumulated during the marriage by either spouse’s efforts.
If parties to a divorce can’t agree to asset division, Ohio courts divide property by the Court of Common Pleas. In deciding marital property division and making alternative monetary distributive awards, the court considers many factors. These factors can include: the length of the marriage, the assets and liabilities of each spouse; the desirability of awarding the family home to the spouse with child custody; the liquidity and economic value of the distributed property; any financial misconduct on the part of either spouse; and others.
Marital Property & Separate Property
Ohio law recognizes two property categories for asset division during a divorce: marital property and separate property. Marital property can include but isn’t limited to personal and real property owned by either spouse, appreciation of separate property due to one spouse’s contributions, and participant accounts in state and municipal deferred compensation plans.
Separate property can include but isn’t limited to inheritance acquired during the marriage, property acquired by a partner before the marriage, passive income and appreciation from separate property during the marriage, property acquired by one spouse after legal separation, and others.
During divorce proceedings, courts often presume that an asset is marital unless a spouse can document that it’s separate. Some instances of this kind of documentation can be difficult without the kind of experienced assistance you can get from an attorney at Garretson & Holcomb, LLC.
Determining the Value of Marital Assets
If spouses can’t agree on the value of certain assets, courts use expert appraisals to help make informed determination. Appraisals are often straightforward in the case of assets like homes, cars, jewelry, pensions and retirement accounts. Appraisals for such assets as the value of a business can be more subjective, and evaluations by accountants and other experts—though expensive and time-consuming—can be valuable.