Financial Matters in Family Law: Wood & Brewer in Worthington, Ohio
In family law cases, making sure you have someone who understands all factors involved is important. Unfortunately, as difficult as it can be to end a relationship, things can get a little more complicated when financial matters are involved. At Wood & Brewer, our divorce lawyers understand the potential issues you may encounter during the process. Before you begin the divorce process, there are certain financial matters you will want to examine.
Financial matters you may have to consider include:
-Division of property
-Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO)
-Antenuptial agreements (prenuptial agreements)
Spousal Support (Alimony) in Ohio
Under Ohio state law, one of the spouses may be ordered to pay the other spouse in order to maintain the way of life to which he or she became accustomed during the marriage. When determining the amount and duration of spousal support, there are a number of factors the judge will consider. The judge will take into account the income of each party, the duration of the marriage, each party's contributions to the marriage, the income-earning capabilities of both parties, and more.
Property Division in Ohio: Equitable Distribution
In Ohio, each spouse is considered to have contributed equally to the production and acquisition of marital property. The laws require that the division of marital property be equitable which, in most instances, means equal. There are often disputes as to the value of an asset or whether all assets are truly marital. Ohio generally returns all separate property to the rightful owner.
The retirement benefits of the spouses, including IRAs, 401(k) plans, pensions, deferred compensation, savings plans and the like are considered marital property and subject to division by the court. Generally, the court will only divide the benefits acquired during the marriage.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
In some relationships, there are complications that may arise should retirement benefits be involved. In these types of situations, if the retirement benefit is subject to division during the divorce, you will have to file a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). It is important to properly draft and file a QDRO because failure to do so can affect the rights of the recipient from receiving benefits.
Antenuptial Agreement (Prenuptial)
A prenuptial agreement is a written contract between a man and woman contemplating marriage and is intended to limit or modify certain marital rights. Such an agreement is often requested by an individual seeking to protect assets brought into a new marriage or attempting to benefit children from an earlier marriage. Courts require very strict financial disclosures before such an agreement may be signed.
When a divorce is being settled, a divorcing couple must decide on how to divide their property and assets. If a couple is unable to agree, a court must decide on how to distribute the assets. These assets can include real estate, vehicles, cash, and even debt, for example. If you are concerned about the property division aspect of your divorce, our attorneys at Wood & Brewer can step in to make sure your interests remain protected at all times, regardless of the direction your case takes.
Demonstrating Thoughtful Stewardship of Your Financial Resources
We realize how stressful and scary it can be to face the possibility that you may lose some of your assets during the property division process. This is why it is so important that you align yourself with a firm such as ours that has a proven track record of success and the resources to assist you. Our Columbus property division attorneys can carefully review your assets before creating a personalized strategy aimed at delivering real results.
Property Division FAQs
How Will Property Be Divided During Divorce?
Ohio is considered to be an “equitable distribution” state, which means that assets will be divided based on what the court considers to be fair for both parties – and that may not necessarily mean a 50/50 split down the middle. Instead, property will be split based on each individual’s contributions to the marriage, income level, and needs after separation. Courts will also take economic misconduct, child custody, and other factors into account.
A court divides property into the following categories:
Marital property – This is property that was acquired during the marriage, such as retirement benefits and real estate.
Separate property – This is property that is was acquired separately by one of the spouses. This can include inheritances, gifts, and property that was obtained before marriage.
When determining how to divide your assets, the court will only be looking at marital property. Of course, disputes can still arise in this area, due to the co-mingling of separate assets during the marriage.
Do Courts Consider Fault When Dividing Property?
Because the state of Ohio allows for fault-based divorce, the court may consider fault as a factor in property division if you pursue this option. Depending on the grounds used, the court may award a lower percentage of some properties to the spouse who committed wrongdoing.
How Can I Prepare for Dividing up Debt During Divorce?
Just like dividing any type of property during the divorce process, the first thing you and your attorney need to establish is what debts exist, the amounts owed and whose name the debts falls under. No matter what type of agreement you and your spouse have worked out, the company that is owed the money is not bound by that agreement. This means that whoever’s name is listed on the financial agreement will likely remain responsible for any penalties, fees, or interest charges that have built up. It is critical that this is taken into account in settlement negotiations.
The simplest option may be to pay off the debt completely during the process by selling off property or other assets in order to avoid any issues that could come from missing a payment, though that may not be financially advisable depending on your situation. Whether you choose to follow this path or pursue another option, an experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate any legal hurdles and ensure a smooth transition to post-divorce life.