Dividing marital assets during divorce can be difficult. Here’s what to know about the equitable distribution of marital property in Ohio.

Ohio is an equitable distribution state, meaning the state will try to ensure an equitable and fair division of assets during marital separation. However, there is no guarantee that the court will equally split assets.

Related: Ohio Divorce Laws: The Basics

Asset Division

Asset division during divorce falls under:

1. Community property

An Ohio court divides all community property equally between spouses, and separate property goes to its respective owner.

2. Equitable distribution

An Ohio court divides assets and liabilities accumulated during the marriage equitably.

What is marital property?

Any property spouses gain during a marriage is marital property. Marital property can include debt, 401(k)s, and/or property. Dividing marital property is a crucial part of the divorce process.

Marital property can include:

  • Any property one or both spouses own
  • Retirement benefits
  • Real estate or personal property interests
  • Income

What is separate property?

Separate property is any property an individual spouse owns. An Ohio court cannot divide separate property during marital separation.

Separate property can include:

  • Passive income/interest from separate property
  • Real estate a spouse owned before marriage
  • One spouse’s inheritance
  • A gift from one spouse to the other during the marriage
  • Rent/property a prenuptial agreement protects

If spouses sign a postnuptial agreement during their marriage, they may establish separate property before filing for divorce.

What is a Postnuptial Agreement?

A postnuptial agreement, also known as a “postnup,” is a legal contract between a married couple outlining asset and liability division in the event of a divorce. Married couples sign postnuptial agreements to expedite the divorce process or layout terms different from state guidelines regarding the division of marital property.

Although postnuptial agreements can hasten the divorce process, postnuptial agreements may save a couple’s marriage. Within a postnuptial agreement, spouses can establish ownership of certain assets during the marriage to discern what counts as separate property. Postnups can also outline how spouses divide assets and child custody in the event of a divorce.

How can a postnuptial agreement expedite the divorce process?

A postnuptial agreement can speed the divorce process up by outlining the marital asset and liability division. Since a postnuptial legally separates each spouse’s financial life, filing an uncontested divorce can be faster and even cheaper.

When is a postnuptial agreement needed?

Postnuptial agreements are primarily helpful in protecting a spouse’s inheritance or financial health if they feel their partner is an economic burden or unfaithful.

In addition, a spouse may seek a postnuptial agreement for:

  • Their spouse’s poor financial habits
  • Changes in work status or career success
  • Family inheritance protection
  • Infidelity issues

Dividing Marital Property

While Ohio is an equitable distribution state, courts cannot guarantee equal distribution of marital property. When dividing marital property, Ohio considers the following information:

  • Marriage length
  • Each spouse’s assets and liabilities
  • The spouses’ children
  • Shared property’s liquidity
  • The tax consequences of property division to each spouse
  • Profit from the property’s sale
  • The existence of a marital agreement
  • The retirement benefits of each spouse

FAQs about the Equitable Distribution of Marital Property in Ohio

Related: Ohio Divorce FAQs

When is it too late to get a postnuptial agreement in Ohio?

Although drafting a prenuptial agreement must occur before a couple gets married, there is no deadline for spouses to sign a postnuptial agreement. Couples can decide to get a postnup years after they marry.

Can I hide any income from my spouse during an Ohio divorce?

Spouses cannot legally hide their financial assets during divorce. Ohio considers a spouse’s concealment of any financial information during divorce proceedings perjury.

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If you or a loved one would like to know more about the equitable distribution of marital property in Ohio, get your free consultation with one of our divorce attorneys today!