Division of Marital Property: Who Gets the House in an Ohio Divorce
August 8th, 2023
Dividing marital property is often one of the most contentious issues in an Ohio divorce. Deciding who will receive the marital home can be a significant obstacle.
For many couples, their home is their largest asset. Learning how Ohio handles property division in a divorce will help you understand who will keep the home. But you will also need to decide whether keeping the home after a divorce is a good idea.
Understanding Ohio Laws on Division of Property
Ohio is an equitable division state, which means that, when determining the division of property, the judge starts from the presumption that property will be divided equally. The judge will listen to arguments from each spouse as to why a different allocation of property might be more equitable.
Ohio law classifies property as either marital property or separate property.
Marital property was acquired during the marriage and often includes the home, personal property, bank accounts, and retirement benefits.
Separate property was acquired before marriage. It can also include property acquired during the marriage, such as gifts or inheritance and certain personal injury awards.
Separate property stays with the spouse who brought it to the marriage. Marital property is divided equitably between the spouses.
When dividing marital property, the court will consider:
The duration of the marriage;
Each spouse’s assets and liabilities;
When children are involved, whether the custodial parent would benefit from remaining in the marital home;
The liquidity of the property to be divided;
The economic desirability of keeping an asset intact rather than dividing it;
The tax consequences of the property division;
The costs of selling an asset in order to effectuate an equitable distribution of property;
The existence of a separation agreement concerning property division;
Retirement benefits; and
Any other factor the court deems relevant and equitable.
In most Ohio divorces, the house is treated as marital property.
What Are Your Options for the Marital Home in an Ohio Divorce?
There are two basic choices when deciding what to do with the marital home.
One Spouse Keeps the House
When one spouse keeps the home, that spouse is generally required to pay the other his or her share of the equity and, most often, to refinance the existing mortgage. Sometimes other assets can be distributed to the other spouse rather than a share of the equity in order to achieve an equitable division of assets. Keeping the house can be especially desirable when children are involved, as the custodial parent can then continue to raise the children in a familiar home. Before deciding to keep the marital home, you must be sure you have enough money to pay for expenses such as utilities, maintenance, insurance and the mortgage.
Sell the House and Divide the Proceeds
A divorcing couple can also decide to sell the marital home. Doing this by agreement generally involves agreeing on how to handle selection of a realtor, payment for recommended or necessary repairs, setting the listing price, and other items.
You Can Keep the House After an Ohio Divorce. But Should You?
You may be sentimental about keeping your home after a divorce. But before you decide to fight for the house, you should take a practical look at whether you can afford it. Many household budgets in Ohio are based on two incomes. A divorce sometimes means that neither spouse can afford to live alone in the marital home.
When deciding whether you want to keep your home in a divorce, you will need to consider all of the expenses associated with paying for and maintaining the home. You should also consider how your financial situation will change after a divorce. Will you be receiving additional money through child support and spousal support payments? Or will you be making those payments to your former spouse?
Before investing time and money to fight to keep the marital home, look closely at the financial realities of life after divorce. Our divorce and family law attorneys can help you evaluate your options and provide an objective perspective on whether you can afford to keep the house in an Ohio divorce.
Contact the Ohio Family Law Attorneys at RKPT Today
The family law attorneys at RKPT know the benefits and drawbacks of keeping the house after a divorce. We can help you analyze the practical, financial, and emotional factors of deciding whether to keep the house after a divorce.
To learn more about how the family law attorneys at RKPT can help, call (513) 721-3330 or contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.