What Is Marital Property?
Marital property includes all property that has been acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage. Marital property refers to assets or liabilities such as real estate, vehicles, retirement accounts and other investment accounts, bank accounts, and even household goods and furnishings.
Generally, if it was acquired during the marriage; it is marital. Exceptions to this general rule may include: inheritances, passive income from separate property interests, gifts, all or some personal injury settlement amounts. The key word in the last statement is "may." Often, separate assets are commingled with marital assets during the marriage. This commingling may affect the status of property and make separate property more difficult to identify as separate and not marital in nature. When this occurs, tracing may be required to evidence the separate nature of the property.
How Is Marital Property Divided In A Divorce?
Courts are required to determine and order an equitable division of the marital property. Equitable does not always mean equal in the literal sense. For purposes of property division, both spouses are considered to have equally contributed to the value, acquisition, or maintenance of the marital property.
A court is required to consider the following factors, as provided in section 3105.171 of the Ohio Revised Code, when determining an equitable distribution of marital property:
- The duration of the marriage
- The assets and liabilities of the spouses;
- The desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to reside in the family home for reasonable periods of time, to the spouse with custody of the children of the marriage;
- The liquidity of the property to be distributed;
- The economic desirability of retaining intact an asset or an interest in an asset;
- The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective awards to be made to each spouse;
- The costs of sale, if it is necessary that an asset be sold to effectuate an equitable distribution of property;
- Any division or disbursement of property made in a separation agreement that was voluntarily entered into by the spouses;
- Any retirement benefits of the spouses, excluding the social security benefits of a spouse except as may be relevant for purposes of dividing a public pension;
- Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable.