One of the most contentious parts of your divorce could be the division of assets. This makes sense because you worked hard to acquire the assets you now have, like a house, a car and a healthy retirement account. If you are getting divorced, it can be a priority to make sure you get your fair share of the property acquired throughout your marriage. You may also be keen on keeping specific assets of value to you.
Whatever your goals, it can be helpful to understand how Ohio courts divide assets in divorce. This understanding can help you better strategize for your unique situation.
Property is either marital or separate
It is important to understand that only marital property gets divided. Separate property does not get divided. With this in mind, you might consider which possessions will likely be eligible for division.
In general, marital property includes property that you and your spouse currently own that was acquired during your marriage. Marital property also includes interest, income and appreciation of property that occurred during the marriage.
In general, separate property includes any property that was acquired by one spouse before the marriage or after a decree of legal separation, and any interest that accrued on that property before marriage or after a decree of legal separation. An inheritance or compensation for a personal injury case that only one spouse received would also count as separate property.
Equitable division does not always mean equal
Assuming there is no premarital agreement, marital assets will be divided equitably. Often, this means that the marital assets will be evenly split between you and your spouse.
However, there are cases when the court may split assets unevenly because an equal division is not equitable or fair. This may be the case if one spouse’s financial misconduct harmed the other spouse. Examples of financial misconduct, include losing a money to gambling, spending money on drugs, spending money on a new love interest and attempting to hide assets during divorce.
The court will also consider several relevant components of your unique situation when determining how to divide marital property. Some possible considerations, include:
- How long your marriage lasted
- The liquidity of the property
- The importance of keeping certain assets whole
- Possible tax consequences of the property division
Asset division can be complicated, especially when an asset has qualities of both marital and separate property. However, understanding how a court will make decisions about asset division can help you make the best choices for your situation.