Part of the process of divorce is negotiating the division of property. This includes real estate, vehicles, furniture and other tangible items as well as retirement funds, trusts and other financial assets. Generally, each person brings some of their own belongings into a marriage, and then many more items are purchased as a married couple.
In Ohio, equitable distribution is the legal theory that guides the division of property.
Equitable distribution defined
When courts follow the method of equitable distribution, decisions become a bit more subjective. They will take into account many different variables of each party when deciding how to allocate assets. Some of these variables include:
- The highest level of education attained and employability of each party
- The current age and health of each party
- The current income and spending patterns of each party
- The nature of the standard of living throughout the marriage or civil union
- How each party has contributed to the earning potential of the other party over the years
- The financial needs of each party as well as the foreseeable costs of living for their shared children (if applicable)
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does give a clear picture of how complicated this process can get. One way to reduce the complexity is to bypass the use of a third party altogether.
If both parties can amicably agree on how they would like to divide up their property, then they can usually settle this issue outside of the property division rules. If, however, there is some contention or if communicating with the other party is unsafe, you may find it beneficial to obtain legal guidance on how best to pursue property division within your divorce settlement.