In Ohio, courts follow the equitable distribution model when it comes to dividing assets and liabilities during divorce proceedings. The equitable distribution model means that property will be divided fairly, but not necessarily in a 50/50 split.
The court must first decide which property is marital, that is, property acquired by you and your spouse as a couple, and what property is separate property or property you owned before your marriage. Typical marital property includes homes, personal property such as jewelry and furniture, bank accounts, and retirement benefits.
The court then divides all things determined to be marital assets and debts equally and then takes into account past and future factors of each spouse, thereby shifting the balance of interests accordingly. Common factors included in the decision are:
- Length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition of assets and liabilities
- Children/custodial parent
- Tax consequences
- Prenuptial agreements
No divorces are the same, so the outcome of distribution can vary greatly between cases.
If you and your spouse wish to avoid leaving the division up to a judge, you can work together to create a separation agreement. A separation agreement tells the court how you would like your assets and debts divided. A separation agreement does not need to be all-inclusive. If there are disagreements over certain properties or debts, you can leave the outcome over those things to the court’s discretion.
If you are interested in legally ending your marriage or would like to discuss your rights, please call our Akron divorce attorneys to make an appointment to discuss your potential divorce. If you have already been served with divorce papers by your spouse, you need to retain an attorney immediately, as there are court-required deadlines that need to meet. Call us at 330-922-4491 or contact us online to schedule you for an initial consultation immediately.