Many of our divorce clients have a misconception that assets held in their name only are not subject to division and that only assets held in both parties’ names are “on the table” to be divided in a divorce; when in fact the opposite is very much the case. In Ohio, all assets acquired by the parties during their marriage are subjection to division, regardless of whose name they are held in. This is frequently referred to as “Marital Property” or the “Marital Estate.” Marital Property includes all types of assets, including but not limited to retirement accounts, pensions, bank accounts, real estate, motor vehicles, life insurance with cash value, frequent flyer miles, etc. Generally in Ohio, all Marital Property will be equally divided. There are some exceptions to what is included in Marital Property and those are most commonly property that the parties each bring into the marriage (“Pre-Marital Property”) or property inherited by one party, regardless of when the inheritance was received. These types of property are referred to as “Separate Property” and can be excluded from the Marital Estate, meaning that the assets are not divided between the married parties, and will be retained by only one individual. This is true even if the Separate Property is “comingled” with the Marital Property. The key to successfully make a claim that Separate Property is not Marital Property is documentation to show what property was received, when it was received, who received it, its value when received, and where the assets remain at the time of the divorce.
Having an understanding of what assets are subject to division and which assets should be retained by one of the parties as their separate property is key in a divorce proceeding. If you are considering a divorce, or are ready to file for divorce, contact the attorneys at Thomas Law Group to discuss your assets and how they might be divided.