Property Division

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Divorce Attorney

If you are preparing for divorce and property division in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio divorce attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in preparing your divorce case and protecting your rights to property. Call Johnson Legal, LLC at (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your divorce matter.

Equitable Property Division for Divorce in Ohio

Equitable property division is the rule when it comes to marital property in Ohio. While equitable does not always mean equal, courts in Ohio generally start with the presumption that it means equal. Thus, the court must be persuaded, based on the facts and circumstances, that an unequal division of marital property is “equitable.”

What is Marital Property?

Marital property includes all assets and debts, including real or personal property that have been accumulated during the marriage. Marital property also includes “interests” in any property. Thus, marital property includes:

  • Personal belongings
  • Financial accounts
  • Real estate
  • Bills
  • Retirement funds (ex. 401(k) and pension plans)
  • Family-owned businesses
  • Mortgages and other marital debts

Simply dividing each asset and liability does not always result in an equitable division. Moreover, some assets and liabilities simply cannot be split between the parties or the parties do not want them split. Thus, having an experienced divorce attorney will assist you in achieving an outcome that protects the value of your assets and minimizes the potential liability.

In order to deviate from an equitable division of property, the judge may consider:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Economic contributions and circumstances of each spouse
  • Desire to retain certain assets, such as a professional practice or business
  • Evidence of marital misconduct related to economics
What is the Difference Between “Marital” and “Separate” Property?

Separate property includes:

  • Property acquired before the marriage
  • Property or interests excluded by a valid prenuptial agreement
  • Income on separate property
  • Property or interests acquired after a legal separation

A common, and complicated, issue that needs to be addressed in many divorce cases is the commingling of property. Spouses often mix separate and marital property, potentially destroying their separate nature. However, if the separate property can be traced, the commingling of the property will not destroy the identity of the separate property.

Are Gifts or Inheritances Considered Marital Property?

No. Gifts and inheritances, along with assets owned prior to the marriage, are not considered marital property in Ohio. Typically, they remain the property of the owner or recipient. However, the party claiming that the asset is non-marital property to demonstrate that the asset was gift or inheritance was, or was owned prior to the marriage.

What if My Spouse is Hiding Assets?

In every divorce case in Ohio, the parties will engage in the “discovery” process. This process requires the disclosure of the existence of all assets and debts. The disclosure of these assets and debts can be verified through request for documents, requests for admissions, interrogatories, depositions and subpoenas to individuals and entities.

Property Division and Spousal Support in Ohio

Ohio law requires the equitable division of property prior to any award of spousal support and without regard to any spousal support awarded. However, one exception applies – the court may consider the retirement benefits of the parties, and their assets and liabilities when making an award of spousal support.

Businesses and Divorce in Ohio

If you and your spouse both own a business, divorce can become very complicated and both parties immediately ask the same question – “Will we have to sell the business?” There are a number of factors that the court must consider when deciding on how to divide and allocate property. For spouse that own a business together, the court will consider the economics of keeping that asset intact, the costs of selling the business, and the tax consequences to both parties of dividing the equity in the business.

Depending on the circumstances, the court may or may not require a sale of the business. However, most spouses would prefer to not have this important decision be made by a court. Thus, it is important that the parties discuss this important topic and attempt to agree on how to address it. This could be selling the business to a third party or one party “buying out” the other party so that one party can continue operating the business.

Divorce Attorney – Columbus and Delaware, Ohio

If you are preparing for divorce and property division in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio divorce attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in preparing your divorce case and protecting your rights to property. Call Johnson Legal, LLC at (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your divorce matter.