No one gets married expecting to get divorced, so when a divorce does happen, it’s normal to be caught out by the many details that have to be considered. One of the biggest is property distribution. This can be especially hard for women. It’s not unheard of for husbands to try to convince their wives that the husband decides how property will be distributed in a divorce, or to insist that, if the husband is the primary breadwinner, all the property belongs to him. You need a skilled women’s divorce attorney to make sure your rights are protected.
Ask a Women’s Divorce Attorney: How Is Property Split?
All assets in a divorce are divided according to the law of the state where the divorce is being filed. Ohio is what’s known as an “equitable distribution” state. This means that, if the courts are involved in your divorce, all the assets and earnings you have accumulated during the marriage will be divided between the two parties by the court in a “fair and reasonable” manner.
This is quite different from what you might assume. Some states are “community property” states, where everything is divided 50/50, but that’s not the case in Ohio. You shouldn’t expect a 50/50 split but rather a division based on the specific needs and abilities of each party. For example, if the husband aggressively pursued his career during the marriage while the wife neglected hers to support him, the husband is obviously in a better situation to earn money after the divorce. This is the type of thing the court will consider. All other things being equal, the court would be likely to award the wife a greater share of the property and assets in the above situation.
The court can only divide based on what it knows. The court will take into account how long you’ve been married, how much income you’ve each brought to the marriage, the liabilities you have together and individually, the needs of any children and the custody arrangements, your health, and more as it makes a decision. To make a good decision, the court must have a clear, accurate understanding of the facts.
It’s not at all uncommon for an aggressive, angry, or simply dishonest husband to go to great lengths to hide the reality of his own situation, or blur the reality of his wife’s, in an attempt to keep more of the property and assets. Westerville divorce lawyers for women are essential in these situations. They will help you understand what information the court needs and compile all the needed documents. They will also fight for you against any underhanded or abusive tactics on the part of your soon-to-be-ex and his lawyers.
What About Property I Had Before the Marriage?
In general, any property that you owned before your marriage is yours, and the same is true of any property your husband owned before the marriage. Additionally, property that was gifted to you, for example, if your husband gave you a car for Christmas, it is generally yours alone and not marital property. That’s the simple legal answer: unfortunately, the reality is more difficult.
The problem is that most of us don’t live our married lives carefully separating out every asset. Assets tend to be mingled and what was once separate property can become marital property through the right chain of events. That’s why it’s absolutely essential to have an attorney to help you protect your wealth, particularly if there are any valuable assets at stake.
What’s Worth Fighting For?
Divorce takes a toll on your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. In a worst-case scenario, divorce devolves into an acrimonious mess with each side trying to score points for no real gain. Your lawyer will help you avoid this scenario, and that will start by helping you understand what hills are actually worth dying on. Every situation is unique, but in general, here’s what’s worth fighting for:
- Your kids
- Business equity
- Retirement assets
Here’s what may not be worth making a battle over:
- The house
- Other personal property
Again, every case is different, and there may be good reason why you, personally, shouldn’t go after business equity but should fight for something like a car. Your lawyer can give you the best advice based on your personal situation.
Getting what you deserve from a divorce property split can be difficult even in a simple case, and the more acrimonious the divorce, the harder it will be. Contact an experienced lawyer soon to make sure you put forth the best case for securing what’s rightfully yours.