When married couples in Ohio get a divorce, courts do not always divide everything that they own in a 50-50 split. Instead, they try to divide what a couple owns as fairly as possible applying the legal principle of equitable distribution.
The only property that courts consider in the process of distribution is marital property. Anything that spouses own separately is typically exempt from distribution. Here are some of the basic principles that guide how courts categorize property as marital or nonmarital.
Acquisition during a marriage
For the most part, anything that a couple acquires during a marriage for both spouses to use is marital property. Even if only one spouse has legal title to something such as a vehicle, a court may consider it to be the property of both spouses.
Most gifts that a person receives from his or her spouse or a third party are generally an individual’s personal property and a court will not divide them. Inheritances, for example, will usually belong to an individual. Nevertheless, it is possible for one spouse’s individual funds to become marital property if that spouse comingles them with marital funds in some way.
Distinguishing between marital and non-marital property is the first step that courts will take in dividing assets during a divorce. Before they can determine who should get what, courts need to identify what property is subject to division. It is worth noting, however, that the value of individuals own separately could influence how a court evaluates what would be most fair and equitable to both parties in distributing marital assets.