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How Does the Court Decide How to Divide a Couple's Assets in Ohio

How Does the Court Decide How to Divide a Couple's Assets in Ohio

Marriage affords you the right to share in each other’s gains and losses. When you are faced with divorce, it is important to understand how the court decides to divide a couple’s assets. Ohio is one of 41 states that uses the equitable distribution standard to determine division of assets when the marriage ends. Contrary to the implication of its name, equitable does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split.

The court may consider several relevant factors to determine equitable distribution of assets, including but not limited to the following:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Assets and liabilities of the spouses
  • Possibly awarding the family home to the spouse with custody of the children
  • Tax consequences
  • Costs of sale
  • Any other factor that the court finds to be relevant and equitable

Couples with a valid separation or prenuptial agreement may have more control over how their assets are divided, depending on the specifics of their prenup.

Almost everything you and your spouse acquire during your marriage is marital property (e.g., the family home) as well as non-tangible things such as retirement benefits. However, marital property does not include any separate property, real and personal, that was acquired prior to the date of the marriage or after a decree of legal separation. Separate property, which is not subject to equitable distribution, includes a spouse’s inheritance (if it can be traced back to the inheritance and it has not been comingled with marital assets) or any assets specifically excluded in a prenuptial agreement — again, depending on the the terms of the prenup.

Essential things to remember about equitable distribution:

  • Most things you acquired during your marriage is subject to division
  • It doesn’t matter whose name or money was used to acquire the asset
  • If you can prove your spouse did away with some assets with divorce in mind, the court may award you a sum equal in value
  • Each spouse, as a partner in the marriage, may also be responsible for any debts acquired during the marriage

If you are considering a divorce and need legal guidance, give our firm a call. We can help you protect your rights and insure that your share of the equitable distribution is fair.

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