Property Division: Do I Get to Choose What I Want Because I Filed First?

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If you are facing a divorce, you have significant financial concerns on your mind, and you may be wondering if there is an advantage to filing first in terms of the division of your marital property. While filing first can provide you with the advantage of perhaps being more organized in terms of your documentation, it is unlikely to work for or against you in relation to this property division. The most important first step you can take if you are moving toward a divorce is consulting with an experienced Dayton divorce attorney who will help you better understand what to expect and how best to protect your financial rights. 

Your Marital Property

The assets that you and your spouse acquired over the course of your marriage are considered marital property (in legal terms). Things like who made the purchase or whose name is on the lease have no bearing on this classification. Your marital property must be divided equitably, which means fairly rather than necessarily equally, in the event of a divorce. Fairly in this context means a fair division of property in relation to the circumstances involved. Because when you file does not affect the equitable nature of your property division, it is not likely to have any effect on its outcome. 

Your Separate Property

Any property you bring into your marriage and keep separate during your marriage will remain your own separate property, but there are myriad complications that can disrupt this equation. All told, the division of marital property has the potential to be the most contentious component of nearly every divorce. 

The Factors at Play

Those factors that can affect the equitable division of your marital property in an Ohio divorce include (as applicable):

  • The length of your marriage
  • You and your divorcing spouse’s separate assets and liabilities
  • Whether or not the primary custodial parent would benefit from remaining in the family home with the children
  • How liquid your assets are 
  • The tax implications of the property division for both of you
  • The cost of the necessary sale of any properties (such as your family home)
  • Whether or not there is a valid prenuptial agreement involved
  • You and your divorcing spouse’s individual retirement benefits
  • Any factor that the court deems relevant in your unique situation, which is very unlikely to include who filed for divorce first 

An Experienced Dayton Divorce Attorney Is on Your Side

If you are facing a divorce, you are facing a profound emotional transition that includes a complicated legal component, and because the division of your marital property can seriously affect your finances, it’s important to proceed with professional legal counsel in your corner. The trusted divorce attorneys at The VanNoy Firm in Dayton take great pride in helping clients like you obtain fair and favorable divorce terms, including the division of marital property. We’re here for you, too, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information today.



About The Author

Anthony S. VanNoy

Trial Attorney

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