Whether you choose divorce, dissolution, or separation, there will need to be a division of property.
As soon as either spouse files for a divorce, dissolution, or separation, every single item of property owned by either spouse is subject to court jurisdiction. The first step is for the domestic relations court to determine which assets are marital property and which assets are separate property.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
All items which have been purchased or accumulated by either spouse are usually considered to be marital assets. Common examples include:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Stocks and bonds
- Retirement plans or IRAs
- Household furnishings
- Household goods
There are some exceptions to this general rule. For example, gifts, prizes and inheritances, even if acquired during the marriage, are not marital property. By definition, all property which is not marital property is considered separate property.
In most cases, the domestic relations court will divide up only the marital property. However, in very limited circumstances, the court may choose to divide up separate property. Ohio law requires that the division of the marital property be “equitable“. By that they mean that the division should be fair (but not necessarily equal) based on the unique circumstances of each case.