One of the most common concerns in divorce is that one spouse will face economic difficulties while the other spouse walks away with more than their fair share. There are many ways to prevent this outcome — and protecting your separately owned property is one of them.
For litigated divorces in Ohio, courts will equitably divide marital property, which includes assets that both spouses own together. Your separate property will continue to remain yours after the divorce. Similarly, a spouse will not have to be responsible for the other spouse’s separately owned debt.
However, you will need to specify which assets are separate from the marriage in order to gain this protection.
Types of marital property
Common forms of marital property, which spouses divide during divorce, include:
- Shared bank accounts
- Most real estate properties, such as the family home
- Retirement investments and pensions
- A business that mixed its finances with marital accounts
Even if you have an item of separate property, your spouse may have a claim to its appreciation or income if your spouse provided resources or labor to that property. For example, if you inherited your parents’ house, but your spouse helped pay for a renovation project, the additional value of the house could be considered a marital asset.
Types of separately owned property
Some of your property might be safe from property division if:
- You received the property through inheritance
- You individually received the property as a gift
- You already owned the property before the marriage and did not intermingle it with marital assets
- You included the property in a prenuptial agreement that specifies your sole ownership
There are many specific factors that might determine whether an asset counts as separate or marital property. Therefore, it is not safe to make any assumptions when starting your divorce. Instead, speaking with an attorney can give you clear expectations for protecting your interests during property division.