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Dividing marital property with Ohio's equitable distribution law

Under Ohio law, all marital property is subject to equitable distribution.
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    January 24, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Dividing marital property with Ohio's equitable distribution law

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Before you and your spouse start splitting up the furniture and deciding who will get the wedding china and other mementos, it is a good idea to take a step back and understand how marital distribution works. Too often, couples in Hamilton County make assumptions during their divorcethat are wrong when it comes to asset division. These kinds of errors can have a dramatic impact on an ex-spouse's financial future.

Ohio and equitable distribution

Under Ohio law, all marital property is subject to equitable distribution. Unlike community property states, where everything is split straight down the middle, equitable distribution uses a different process to determine what each spouse should receive. In addition to the assets themselves, Forbes states that the courts take into account other factors such as:
-Standard of living the spouse enjoyed during the marriage.
-Health needs of each spouse.
-Income potential of each spouse.
-The contributions a non-working spouse made to the success of the other spouse's career.
-The marriage length.
-What the custodial parent will need to support the children.

The Ohio State Bar Association states that the misuse of marital assets can also be considered in a court's decision. If your spouse tries to hide marital property or wastes money on a drug or gambling addiction, then such action can be seen as financial misconduct. These factors could result in you receiving more than half of the marital property and the other spouse receiving less.

Determining what marital property is

In order to make sure that you receive a fair division of the marital property, you need to know what kinds of assets are considered marital property. In addition to the house, its contents and the cars, there are many other things that can be counted as marital property and subject to property division. These items include retirement accounts (even if they are under your spouse's name only), professional licenses, bonuses from work, debt, tax refunds, art, stocks and investments.

When putting together a list of the marital assets, it is important to use your own set of financial professionals. Sometimes a spouse may put their trust in what the other spouse is saying but spouses have been known to lie in order to protect, what they consider their assets. An independent financial team will be able to uncover any assets your spouse may not be telling you about as well as make sure that they are valuated correctly.

Valuating marital property

When all marital property has been identified, the final step is to assign each item a monetary value. This is done with what is called a valuation date. The valuation date, according to Forbes, is usually the date of your official separation but a judge may choose a different one. An independent evaluator then takes that date and determines how much each item was worth on that specific date.

The valuation date may be an advantage or disadvantage as the marital property could decrease or increase in value after the date. However, you will not be able to claim the increase of value as part of your settlement.

Property division can be an extremely complicated and lengthy process. Therefore, it is important to meet with an experienced and qualified attorney for guidance.

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