The Effects of Separate vs. Marital Property in Ohio
In some states, spouses’ property is classified as community property, which means it is all jointly owned. But in Ohio, as in many states, there is a legal distinction between separate and marital property.
Below is a quick overview of how Ohio marital property laws work with regard to property classification and its effect on the division of marital property in a divorce.
Under Ohio law, marital property is any property acquired by the couple during the course of the marriage, regardless of who purchased the item(s) — from the date of the marriage through the final hearing of a divorce or legal separation. Marital property includes the following:
- Any real or personal property owned by either or both spouses, including retirement benefits, household goods and furnishings, vehicles, bank accounts (all accounts in which marital monies were placed), pictures and decorations
- All income and appreciated value on separate property related to a spouse’s labor, monetary or in-kind contribution
- All interest either or both spouses hold in personal or real estate property
- Money from public employee participant accounts
- Tax returns
When dividing marital property, the court will consider factors such as the length of the marriage, the assets and liabilities of each spouse, the tax consequences of property division for each spouse, the liquidity of the divided property and any other factors the court finds relevant.
Ohio marital property laws classify the following as separate property that cannot be touched during the property distribution process:
- A spouse’s inheritance in most cases; however, there are exceptions
- Real estate, personal property or interest one spouse earned or acquired before the marriage began; however, there are exceptions
- Any passive interest or income acquired from separate property, so long as traceable
- Any gifts received by one spouse during the marriage
- Any real or personal property excluded from classification as marital property via a prenuptial agreement
To learn more about marital versus separate property in Ohio, meet with an experienced divorce attorney at Fox & Associates Co., L.P.A.