Subscribe to the RSS Feed

Columbus Ohio Dissolution Attorney series Part 7: Dividing Assets in a Dissolution

Thisis the 7th in a series of articles by a Columbus Ohio Dissolution Attorneyabout the benefits of dissolution. Virginia Cornwell is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist.  Approximately 100 attorneys in Ohio have received this honor. You  can view other articles in the Dissolution in Ohio series by clicking any of the following links:

When ending a marriage, assets – great and small – have to be divided.  Before you decide you that you don’t have any assets to divide, take a look at these questions.  You may be surprised.

1.  Marital Property or Separate Property?  Under Ohio law, marital property must be divided among husband and wife, but separate property must be awarded solely to the person who owns it.  Basically, everything is marital property unless the person who claims it is separate property can prove it is separate property.  When you and your spouse are deciding who gets what, you need to consider whether some of your property, furniture, automobiles, real estate or money is the separate property of only one spouse.  Ask yourself these questions:

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

  • Did either party own anything before marriage that they still have?
  • Did either party inherit anything during the marriage?
  • Was a gift made solely to one spouse or the other during the marriage by a third party?
  • Did either party have a personal injury award?
  • Is there property which is excluded from division through a Prenuptial Agreement?
  • Does either party have any other separate property as that is defined in Ohio Revised Code 3105.18?

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

  • If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, is the separate property kept COMPLETELY separate from marital property?  If not, can you (possibly with the help of accountants) separate the value of the asset you had before marriage from the appreciation that has resulted from marital income or assets (called “tracing”)?
  • Has income earned during the marriage been spent towards the separate property?

If you don’t have anything substantial and don’t really care about preserving anything you had before marriage, this may not concern you.  If you are not sure whether you have separate property, it is a worthwhile investment of your time to consult with an attorney.

2.  Household Goods, Furniture, Heirlooms, Antiques, Art, Jewelry, etc.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

  • Each spouse gets to keep his or her wedding ring.  It’s the law in Ohio, even if it was an heirloom.  If it was an heirloom and you want it back, consider giving your spouse something that he or she would like to keep in exchange.
  • Unless it’s separate property (see above), everything else is up for grabs.  You and your spouse must agree as to who gets what.  You have a right to have things valued, and if you have something of significant value, you may want to have it appraised, but you are not required to do so in a dissolution.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

3.  Who gets to keep the car?

  • The car, like everything else, is an asset that has to be divided.  If the car has a lien on it, then the lien is a debt that has to be divided.
  • If the party who is keeping the car is not the party whose name is on the title to the car and/or the title to the car, then you need to look into getting the title changed and refinancing the car.
  • Refinancing is something you would want to investigate BEFORE you sign paperwork deciding who gets the car.  If your spouse is not creditworthy, they are not going to get a loan, whether they are court ordered to do so or not, so plan accordingly.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

4.  Who gets to keep the house? Or should you sell it? You and your spouse are the only ones that can decide what is appropriate, and Ohio law does not require any particular party to get the house, but when discussing with your spouse what to do about the house, you should consider:

  • What would you house sell for if you put it on the market and priced it to sell quickly (within a few months)?  Remember, in this economy you are competing with foreclosures, so you may want to ask a realtor to get a realistic idea of what selling your house would bring.
  • If your house can sell, after you pay real estate commission and closing costs, would there be any money left to divide among you?  If not, is your mortgage holder willing to discuss a short sale or a deed in lieu of foreclosure?

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

  • If there are tax implications from the sale of your house, short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure, who will pay the tax?
  • Is your house realistically worth more than you owe?  If so, you have equity in house, and the equity is a marital asset.  How are you going to divide that equity?  Is your spouse going to “buy you out”, or vice versa?
  • If the house doesn’t sell for enough to pay for closing costs and commissions, who is going to pay the shortfall, you are your spouse?  Or are you going to split it?
  • Is one of you going to live in the house while it is for sale?  Will this help your house sell?  Will they get to live in the house rent free?
  • Who will be responsible for any taxes due on the house until it sells?

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

  • Who will be responsible for maintenance required on the house?
  • Are repairs necessary to make the house sell?  If so, who is going to do them or pay for them?
  • Are you creating a situation where a person who cannot afford the house, but wants to stay in the house as long as possible, is the person who will be making the house presentable for sale?  If the answer is yes, how hard do you think that person is going to work to make the house sell?
  • Are you going to put a provision in place for how long that person can live in the house before they have to move out?

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

You may also be interested in some of our divorce articles:

In addition to the other installments in the Dissolution in Ohio collection of articles (see links at top of the page), you may also find the following topics, which relate to divorce, to be helpful.

DISCLAIMER – Read it, it’s stuff you need to know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.