Division of property can be one of the most contentious issues during the course of a divorce. In Ohio, you have several options for coming to an agreement about how to split assets with your spouse.
During the process of your divorce, you will only divide “marital property.” This is generally property acquired during the marriage and property you both contributed to or benefitted from during the marriage. You will not have to split “non-marital property,” which is usually property you acquired before the marriage and kept separate from the marriage.
When you understand what needs to be divided, you can use a few different methods for deciding how things should be split.
- Come to an agreement together. The most ideal arrangement is you and your spouse working together to come to an agreement about your property. Not all couples can do this, as emotions tend to be high during a divorce, and certain pieces of property, like the marital home, can be difficult to agree upon. If you do reach an agreement privately, a court will be quite willing to honor it, provided its provisions are fair and willingly agreed to by both spouses.
- Participate in mediation. When you are having trouble agreeing but are not quite ready to turn things over to a judge, a mediator can be extremely helpful. During this process, a neutral party will listen to the arguments on both spouses’ sides and work with each spouse to come to a compromise that satisfies both of you. It is usually wise to have counsel present during mediation to be sure your wants and needs have been communicated and your interests are protected. A successful mediation might be accomplished in one session or in a few sessions and phone calls.
- Allow the court to decide. If you and your spouse have found yourselves deadlocked on certain property, you can turn to the court to help you make a final decision. If you have already decided on certain property, the court can use that as a jumping off point. The judge will then split the property in contention equitably by considering numerous factors in your marriage, including (among other factors):
- Duration of the marriage
- Income of each spouses
- Other marital and non-marital property each spouse is receiving
- Which spouse will be the primary custodial parent
While many people consider the court a last resort, it is certainly helpful to have this option if you are unable to agree on specific (or all) property. The court will take over wherever you left off and come to an equitable arrangement.
If you are struggling to divide property with your spouse, Attorney Shannon Dawes can provide the guidance you need to help you understand your options. Contact Shannon Dawes today by calling Dawes Legal, LLC, at (614) 733-9999, and schedule a consultation regarding your divorce.