Ohio statutes base property division on equitable distribution. Equitable distribution is a fair, but not necessarily equal division of marital property.
Marital vs. separate property
The starting point when dividing real estate or other large assets is to characterize which is marital or separate property. A Dayton divorce lawyer can help you determine this.
Under Ohio law, marital property includes the following:
- Real and personal property currently owned by either or both spouses and acquired during the marriage (including retirement benefits)
- Interest that either or both spouses currently have in real or personal property acquired during the marriage
- All income and appreciation on separate property resulting from the labor, monetary, or in-kind contribution of either or both spouses during the marriage
- Funds or interest acquired during marriage in participant accounts, which are public employee (government—federal, state, municipal, county, etc.) retirement accounts
Separate property includes the following:
- Inheritances received by a spouse during the marriage
- Real or personal property or interest in such property acquired by a spouse prior to marriage
- Passive income, appreciation, or interest on separate property acquired by one spouse during marriage
- Property excluded by a valid ante nuptial agreement
- Personal injury compensation to one spouse, not including lost earnings (which are marital) or expenses covered by marital assets
- Gifts made after marriage that are clearly for only one spouse
- Commingled separate property that does not destroy property identity and is traceable
Ohio statute 3105.171 also mandates division of marital property between spouses equally, except for when the court deems it just to make distributive awards. A distributive award requires one spouse to pay the other spouse out of separate income or property.
Examples of conditions that can result in distributive awards include the following:
- Spousal failure to honestly disclose marital or separate property or debts (court may triple the value amount and require an award to the other spouse)
- Marriage duration
- Both spouses’ assets and liabilities
- Awarding the family home to the spouse who is the custodial parent
- Property liquidity
- Economic advantages of keeping an asset intact
- Tax consequences
- Sale costs
- Separation agreement terms
Most couples are able to agree on property division and draft a settlement outside of court through the help of one of the experienced divorce lawyers in Dayton.