Is Ohio a Community Property State?

Are you getting a divorce? You might be wondering how exactly property will be divided. When you work with the best divorce lawyers in Columbus, Ohio, you’ll know that you’re getting excellent representation and the guidance you need to understand how property division works.

Is Ohio a Community Property State? Ask the Best Divorce Lawyers in Columbus, Ohio

Going through a divorce is never enjoyable. Even amicable separations come with a certain amount of stress and anxiety. A divorce means a lifestyle change, and it can take time to adjust to your new life. The process of divorce itself can be quite challenging as well.

Many things need to be determined when going through a divorce. One thing is the division of property and assets. Some states are community property states, which divide property differently than others. Ohio is not a community property state, which means that property will fall under equal distribution rules.

What Is a Community Property State?

Ohio may not be a community property state, but it will still be helpful to understand what exactly this term means and how it can affect divorce proceedings. Community property laws are meant to ease property distribution, especially in contested divorce cases.

In these states, couples who are going through a divorce must split all assets and property acquired during the marriage evenly. The goal with this is to reduce the amount of fighting between the couple when splitting up property and make this division smoother and easier. The following states are community property states:
•    Arizona
•    California
•    Idaho
•    Louisiana
•    Nevada
•    New Mexico
•    Texas
•    Washington
•    Wisconsin

What Are the Alternatives?

If you do not live in a community property state, then your property will be divided differently. Depending on your circumstances, one of the following methods will be used to split up your assets and property:

An Agreement Between You and Your Former Spouse

Before taking your divorce case to the courts, you’ll have the chance to sit down with your former spouse and figure out how to divide property in a way that’s fair.

However, there’s no denying that this isn’t always easy. While many couples can sit down and come to a mutual agreement about how their property should be divided, you may not be able to in your case. In these cases, you might need to go to the courts.

Equitable Distribution

If you and your former spouse are not able to come to an agreement on how property should be separated, then your attorney can represent you in court and negotiate on your behalf. The courts will then decide how best to split up the property. You should be aware that this may not result in an even 50/50 split.

There are a few factors that the court will consider when it comes to dividing the property. For example, the length of time the marriage lasted will be a factor, as will both your and your former spouse’s income and taxes, and what the value of your assets are.

How Are Different Types of Property Divided?

When it comes to divorce, the property will be divided between the two former spouses depending on what type of property it is. There are two different kinds of property: marital property and separate property.

Before the property is divided, you will need to inform the courts what property is marital property, and what property is separate property.

Marital Property

This type of property refers to all property that was obtained by either spouse during the marriage. This can include things like pensions, both vested and nonvested, retirement, and deferred compensation rights.

All marital property is considered to be jointly owned by both spouses. However, if you are able to prove that you are the sole owner of a piece of property, like a deed, invoice, or will for an inheritance, then it will be considered separate property.

Separate Property

This is any property that was obtained outside of the marriage. However, separate property also refers to things that were given as gifts or by devise or descent while you were married. That said, you should be aware that gifts given by one spouse to another are still considered marital property unless expressly stated otherwise.

The unfortunate reality about dividing property is that the line between what is separate property and what is marital property can get blurry at times. Your separate property should remain in your ownership when getting a divorce. Make sure to be open about what assets you own separately to prevent your spouse from being able to take them.

How to Divide Property

Whether you are going through an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce, it’s important to know the basic steps of how to divide the property involved. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect from the process. Make sure you work with the best divorce lawyers in your area to make sure you’re seeing a fair division of property.

List Your Assets and Debts

Both spouses are going to need to sit down and list all of the assets that they own. This includes both marital and separate property. You’ll also need to list and subtract from this amount any debts that there are to reach the true value of the assets.

Reach Out to Professionals

Hire a good family lawyer to help you with your divorce. Your lawyer will represent you in court if things are headed that way and will help make that your assets are divided fairly.

Even if the divorce is uncontested, it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer. There are some other professionals whose assistance you may need as well, especially when it comes to property. This includes appraisers, real estate agents, and accountants.

Gather Necessary Paperwork

Marriage and divorce include a lot of paperwork. You are going to want to gather up and organize any paperwork that might be necessary during your divorce proceedings. This will help you and your attorney stay organized and prevent any last-minute scrambling.

Take some time to sit down and review all this paperwork. This might include a prenup that you may have signed, which could affect how the property is divided between you and your former spouse.

Be Ready to Negotiate

Negotiating is a regular part of life. Even if your divorce is amicable, you should expect there to be a few bumps in the road to smooth over, even if they’re small. You may need to negotiate with your former spouse, and you should be ready to do that.

If your divorce is a contested one, then negotiating who gets what can be even more complicated. In these cases, having a lawyer on your side will be incredibly beneficial. If your case needs to go to court, your lawyer will make sure you are represented fairly and that you get the assets you deserve.

Getting a divorce is stressful, but working with a qualified lawyer will make a big difference. Our lawyers are ready to help you keep the divorce process as smooth as possible, and ensure that you get the property that’s rightfully yours. Get in touch with us at WSM Law to learn more.