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Understanding property division laws in Ohio

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2023 | Divorce |

Divorce is a complex and emotionally draining process, and one of the most difficult aspects of it is dividing property. 

In Ohio, property division is governed by laws and guidelines, ensuring fairness and equity for both parties. 

Equitable division in Ohio

Ohio is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning property acquired during the marriage is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Ohio law requires that marital property be divided in a manner that is “just and reasonable” based on various factors. 

These factors include the length of the marriage, the assets and liabilities of each spouse, the income and earning capacity of each spouse, and the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation or increase in the value of the marital property.

Understanding the difference between marital and separate property

In Ohio, marital property is any property acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title or how the property is titled. This includes real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments and personal property like cars, furniture and jewelry. 

However, separate property is anything that one spouse owned before they married. It is not included in the division process. There are two main methods of property division in Ohio divorces: 

  • Division by agreement: The parties agree on how to divide their property. This is often the most preferred method, as it allows the parties more control over the division and can avoid lengthy court proceedings. 
  • Judicial division of property: If the parties cannot agree, the property is divided based on the abovementioned factors. That means the court will decide who gets what property.

Property division in an Ohio divorce is a complex process that requires careful consideration of many factors. Marital property is subject to division, and the court will strive to divide it in a just and reasonable manner based on each case’s specific circumstances. Knowing your rights is important in this situation.