During a marriage in Ohio, couples can acquire various property and assets. Sometimes the property and assets are owned jointly by both spouses and sometimes the property is held in only one spouse’s name. However, it does not matter which spouse’s name is on the title or the account according to the law the property and assets are marital property. This is because the law assumes that both spouses contributed in some way to earn the income and purchase the assets.
This means that if the couple divorces they will need to split all the marital property equitably regardless of whose name is on a title or account. However, the couple may also own separate property which will not be divided. Separate property will remain with the spouse who owns it.
Separate property includes, but is not limited to, inheritances or gifts received by just one spouse. Separate property also includes property that one spouse acquired prior to the marriage. So, if one spouse owned a house or had a retirement account prior to the marriage the portion they acquired before the marriage will remain that spouse’s property. Also, passive gains made on the separate property remain separate. Separate property also includes property that the couple’s pre-nuptial agreement states will remain separate.
The first step in property division is to determine which property is marital and which property is separate. After the couple determines that, they can start the process of equitably dividing the marital property.
Married couples in Ohio own various amounts and types of assets that they acquire during the marriage, but they also may have separate property they had prior to the marriage or through inheritances. If the couple gets divorced they only divide the marital property, but going through that process can be a complicated process. Experienced attorneys understand these complications and may be able to guide one through it.