In an Ohio divorce, there is a presumption that property is subject to an equitable division unless otherwise stated in a prenuptial agreement. Generally speaking, “equitable division” is considered to be an equal division of the property. However, the court does not have to divide the property evenly if one party proves financial misconduct. A knowledgeable Ohio divorce attorney can help you determine how to protect your best interests when navigating property division issues.
Martial property is specifically defined in case law and O.R.C. 3105.171(A)(3)(a). Marital property can be all real and personal property that is currently owned by either of the spouses, including but not limited to:
Separate property is not subject to equitable distribution. Separate property is also defined by case law and O.R.C. 3105.171(A)(3)(a)(6). Separate property generally means:
An accurate property valuation date will be necessary to ensure that you receive an equitable distribution of assets and that you are protected as much as possible. The valuation date is articulated by the court’s local rules unless it would be unjust to follow those rules. When the valuation of certain property is not easily obtainable, it will be necessary to obtain a professional report and/or examination to determine the date. This is a very fact-specific issue, and each case is different.
Further, in addition to an equitable distribution of property, the court will order an equitable distribution of debt. Debts that are incurred during the marriage are presumed to be marital and will be subject to the aforementioned distribution. Ohio law does not outline a method of the division of debt and therefore a Judge or Magistrate may exercise his or her discretion in distributing the debt based on the facts presented.
Retirement benefits that were acquired during the marriage will be subject to equitable distribution under Ohio Law. Pensions, defined contribution plans, 401(k)s, IRAs, and countless other retirement mechanisms are subject to different tax treatment and different requirements. To divide these plans there need to be additional orders such as Qualified Domestic Relations Orders and Division of Property Orders, which are filed with the court then sent to the retirement provider directly.
Certain plans have added complexities and nuances such as Military retirement plans, Government retirement plans, and certain Union plans. It is important to hire an experienced attorney to ensure that you get what you are entitled to, or in the alternative, to protect what you have worked hard for your entire career.
The outcome of a business division can have a significant effect on both parties. This involves complex asset allocations and likely will require valuations and testimony from expert witnesses. We work with a network of business valuation specialists to ensure that your rights in the business are protected.
At The VanNoy Firm, our attorneys are dedicated to helping clients resolve their divorce and property division matters swiftly and in a matter that most benefits their interests. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you, too.
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