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Considerations to think about during property division

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2024 | Family Law |

During a divorce in Ohio, a state that follows equitable distribution laws, the division of property requires careful consideration of several factors. One of these is determining the status of the property.

Marital property, which is divided in property division, includes most assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Separate property, which is retained by the spouse who owns it, consists of the following as long as they’re kept separate from marital assets:

  • Gifts that are received by one spouse
  • Assets one person had coming into the marriage
  • Personal injury awards
  • Inheritances specifically named for one spouse

Marital property is generally divided based on what’s viewed as fair. This doesn’t mean everything is divided perfectly equally.

Contributions of each spouse

Ohio courts consider each spouse’s contributions to the marriage. This isn’t limited only to financial contributions. The court also considers non-financial contributions such as caring for the marital home or raising children. This recognizes the value of both monetary and non-monetary support to the family’s well-being.

Duration of the marriage

The length of the marriage plays a significant role in property division. Shorter marriages might result in assets being divided based on what each person had coming into the marriage because assets haven’t been comingled as long. Longer marriages may see a more equitable distribution of assets because of the spouses’ intertwined financial and personal lives.

Economic circumstances of each spouse

Courts consider the economic circumstances of each spouse when dividing property. This includes each spouse’s earning capacity, age, health and future financial prospects. The goal is to ensure that the division doesn’t disproportionately disadvantage one party, allowing both individuals to maintain a standard of living as close as possible to what they enjoyed during the marriage.

Tax consequences

Different assets come with varying burdens of tax or benefits. For example, dividing retirement accounts may require specific orders, such as a qualified domestic relations order, to avoid significant tax penalties. Understanding these implications can help both parties make informed decisions about dividing property.

Ultimately, the property division process is a major consideration for any divorce. Legal assistance to better determine how various division options will impact an individual’s future is, therefore, important. This is an opportunity to get an individual’s new phase of life started on the best foundation possible.