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FAQs About Ohio Property Division in Divorce
What is the standard for dividing property in Ohio?
Each spouse shall be considered to have contributed equally to the production and acquisition of "marital property." The laws of the State of Ohio require that the division of "marital property" must be equal, unless such a division would be inequitable. In such a situation, the court must divide the property equitably instead of equally.
What is "marital property?
"Marital property" means, all of the following:
What does the term "during the marriage" mean?
"During the marriage" means whichever of the following is applicable: (a) the period of time from the date of the marriage through the date of the final hearing in an action for divorce or in an action for legal separation; or, (b) if the court determines that the use of either or both of the dates specified above would be inequitable, the court may select dates that it considers equitable in determining marital property. If the court selects dates that it considers equitable in determining marital property, "during the marriage" means the period of time between those dates selected and specified by the court.
What is "separate property?
"Separate property" means all real and personal property and any interest in real or personal property that is found by the court to be any of the following:
How does the court determine how to divide the marital property?
In making a division of marital property and in determining whether to make and the amount of any distributive award, the court shall consider all of the following factors:
How does the court determine the value of a marital asset?
Obviously, some assets have a readily ascertainable value, such as a bank account, publicly traded stock, etc. If the parties can not agree on the value of other assets, there must be a determination of the value in order for the court to be able to make an informed determination. The value of assets such as homes, cars, jewelry, etc., can be determined by obtaining appraisals from qualified experts. The value of pensions and retirement accounts may also be determined from an evaluation. Assets such as the value of a business, is often more troublesome. In those situations it is usually necessary to retain the services of accountants and other experts to do financial evaluations. This process can often become relatively expensive and time consuming. Unless the parties agree to accept the value determined by one expert, the court will have to take evidence and testimony and make a determination based upon the evidence as to the value of the property.
Is a professional license or degree an asset subject to valuation and division?
No. Although other states have ruled otherwise, Ohio has determined that the license or degree is not an asset subject to division. The future value of a professional degree or license earned during the marriage is, however, a factor to be considered by the court when making a determination with regard to spousal support.
What about retirement accounts, pensions and other deferred compensation?
The retirement benefits of the spouses, including IRA's, 401-K plans, pensions, deferred compensation, etc. are considered marital property and subject to division by the court to the extent that it was acquired by either or both of the spouses during the marriage.
Both parents, regardless of gender, are required to provide financial support for all of their minor children, based on the Ohio Child Support Guidelines.
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