Property division under Ohio law is largely governed by R.C. 3105.171. Marital property is “all real and personal property that currently is owned by either or both of the spouses, including, but not limited to, the retirement benefits of the spouses, and that was acquired by either or both of the spouses during the marriage and the income and appreciation on separate property due to the labor, monetary, or in-kind contribution of either or both of the spouses that occurred during the marriage.
Separate property is all real or personal property that comes from an inheritance or gift to one spouse; passive income and appreciation from the separate property of a spouse; property excluded by a valid antenuptial agreement; and compensation for the personal in jury of a spouse (not including compensation for loss of marital earnings).
In Ohio, marital property does not have to be divided equally, rather a Court must make an equitable division by considering the following factors:
(1) The duration of the marriage;
(2) The assets and liabilities of the spouses;
(3) The desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to reside in the family home for reasonable periods of time, to the spouse with custody of the children of the marriage;
(4) The liquidity of the property to be distributed;
(5) The economic desirability of retaining intact an asset or an interest in an asset;
(6) The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective awards to be made to each spouse;
(7) The costs of sale, if it is necessary that an asset be sold to effectuate an equitable distribution of property;
(8) Any division or disbursement of property made in a separation agreement that was voluntarily entered into by the spouses;
(9) Any retirement benefits of the spouses, excluding the social security benefits of a spouse except as may be relevant for purposes of dividing a public pension;
(10) Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable.
In determining an equitable scheme of property division a Court must first determine which dates constitute "during the marriage." Often this is a matter of simply counting the time from the date of the marriage to the date of the final hearing on the parties' divorce, dissolution or legal separation. However, R.C. 3105.171 allows the Court to use different dates to achieve an equitable division of property.
The Court also has the power to order a distributive award, which is a payment to a spouse from the separate property of another spouse under certain circumstances. This may be done to achieve equity or to penalize a spouse for financial misconduct.
Under R.C. 3105.171 the Court has huge amounts of leeway to divide your property. It is therefore very important that you obtain quality legal advice to make sure that you get everything to which you are entitled. If you are facing the termination of your marriage, contact my office.