In Ohio, assets that qualify as “marital property” are subject to distribution when spouses get divorced. This means that each spouse will be entitled to a certain share of those assets either as agreed by the parties or, if necessary, as ordered by the court (remember, “equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal”).
Dividing Marital Assets in Your Divorce
When dividing your marital property in a divorce, there are a number of important issues you need to take into consideration.
For example, what would a court consider “equitable” given the circumstances of your divorce? While divorcing spouses have a decent amount of flexibility when it comes to dividing their assets in negotiations, mediation, or the collaborative process, both are generally going to want to protect their rights as they would be enforced by the courts. Next, once you determine what constitutes an “equitable” overall split, how do you determine who gets what? As a related question, what if you want to make sure you can keep certain, specific assets after your divorce?
Three Questions for Protecting Prized Possessions in an Ohio Divorce
It is not uncommon for divorcing spouses to place special importance on protecting certain assets during the divorce process. Whether a car, boat, collection, piece of artwork, or even the family home, you have lived with it for years – maybe even decades – and you don’t want to lose it as you and your spouse go your separate ways.
The good news is this: There are potentially a few different ways to protect individual assets in an Ohio divorce. To identify your options, you will need to answer the following questions:
- Is the asset separate or marital property? The first question you need to answer is whether the asset qualifies as separate or marital property. If it qualifies as marital property it will be subject to distribution in your divorce. If it qualifies as separate property, it will not. The most common ways to establish that an asset qualifies as separate property are to prove that either: (i) you already owned it before you got married, or (ii) you received it as a personal gift or inheritance during your marriage.
- What does your prenuptial agreement say? If the asset you want to protect does not qualify as separate property, your next option is to look to your prenuptial agreement. If you and your then-fiancé signed a prenuptial agreement, what does your agreement say about the distribution of assets in the event of a divorce? Under Ohio law, spouses can override the general marital property rules by stating in a prenuptial agreement that certain assets will receive special treatment should their marriage come to an end.
- What are you willing to give up in exchange? Finally, if the asset constitutes marital property and it isn’t addressed in your prenuptial agreement, you will most likely need to negotiate a compromise with your spouse. As part of the divorce process, you and your spouse will need to divide your marital estate, and this is your opportunity to seek to protect the assets you hold most dear. While protecting certain assets generally means giving up others, keep in mind that your spouse will likely have certain assets that he or she wants to keep as well. With careful planning and a measured approach, most divorcing couples are able to to negotiate a property settlement that satisfies both parties’ wants and needs.
Questions About Property Division in an Ohio Divorce?
If you would like more information about your options for protecting certain assets in your divorce, contact Laubacher & Co. today for a free, confidential consultation. Call (855) 701-1004 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with an experienced divorce attorney at our offices in Cleveland, OH today.