Columbus Property Division Attorneys

In Ohio, judges are required to divide a couple’s marital property equitably.  This does not always mean that it must be divided equally.  When a court, however, decides that some division other than an equal division is appropriate, it must explain fully the reasoning as to why something other than an equal division was equitable.  While this can sometimes be done, it is more common for courts to approach cases with an expectation that there will be an equal division of marital property.

Marital and Separate properties

It is important to have an experienced attorney who understands the difference between marital property and items that are considered one of the party’s separate properties.  In general, the most common examples of separate property are:

  1. Property that was owned or which can be clearly traced to property owned by the party before the marriage.
  2. Property that was gifted exclusively to the party.
  3. Property that has been inherited by the party.

With limited exceptions, separate property will remain the property of its owner.  Only the marital property, which consists of every other type of property that accumulated during the course of the marriage, will be divided between the parties.

Complex Property and Assets Division

In order to properly divide the property, the court must know the value of each item.  Some items are very clear, such as the balance in a bank account or in certain financial accounts.  Other items such as real estate, businesses, deferred compensation plans, etc. are often more complex.  The use of competent appraisers, forensic accounts, actuaries, and other experts are often needed to properly determine the value of such assets.  Furthermore, it is not uncommon for items such as retirement accounts and real estate to have some portion of their value attributable to one’s separate property and some portion attributable to marital property, since it is not unusual for a portion of the asset to have been in place before the date of the party’s marriage and, therefore, that portion remains their separate property.

When closely held family businesses or professional practices are involved, it is very important to carefully consider the impact of any division on the future of the business or practice.  Similarly, it is critical to consider the steps necessary to protect one’s retirement funds when possible. 

The process of obtaining all of the information needed to properly appraise value and to fully understand the impact of any division of the property can be complex.  When one of the parties is reluctant or unwilling to divulge the necessary information, it is, of course, essential to have an attorney who knows how to independently access the needed information.  

Call Our Central Ohio Assets and Property Division Attorney

The property division attorneys at Edward F. Whipps & Associates have over 30 years of experience in carefully analyzing and valuing all types of property so that the assets division will be both fair and equitable and protect their client’s interest in their future.  To arrange a mutually convenient time for a confidential initial consultation, you may call the Columbus office at (614) 461-6006 or the Dublin office at (614) 461-6007.