You know that some of your biggest assets are marital property. The chances are good that you and your spouse bought your home together and are both on the mortgage, as well as on the deed to the property. Other assets could be in only one spouse’s name, such as the vehicle that you drive or the retirement account where your employer makes annual matching deposits based on your contributions.
For the most part, whatever you earn, purchase or otherwise acquired during your Ohio marriage is marital property. Only items that you already owned, that you protected with a marital agreement or that you inherited during your marriage will remain separate for the purposes of property division matters.
What will a judge in Ohio do with your marital property?
An even split is not always the outcome
Ohio has a property division statute that orders judges to look into what assets spouses share with one another. Sometimes, judges will determine that evenly splitting those assets would be the most appropriate and fair approach. However, for many couples, a 50/50 split of their marital property would not be the right solution given their unique circumstances.
Judges have interpretive power that allows them to deviate from an even split and award more belongings or assign more debt to one spouse to make things as fair as possible. Any property that the courts deem marital is subject to division in accordance with what would be fair and equitable based on your family circumstances. Earning potential, health and separate property are among the factors a judge will consider when dividing your marital estate.
You don’t have to surrender control
The idea of letting a stranger review an inventory of your property and hear brief testimony about your marriage before making all of the choices about what property you get to keep is a stressful one for many people. If you would prefer to retain control over your assets and the outcome of your divorce, you have the opportunity to do so.
Spouses can negotiate with one another or even go through mediation to reach their own terms and file for an uncontested divorce. If the two of you cooperate with one another, state law takes a backseat to the terms that you set in your negotiations.
Familiarizing yourself with property division statutes can help you prepare for your upcoming Ohio divorce.