Most people ask questions like: “Do I get to keep what I had before I got married?” OR “I inherited some money and we used it for a down payment on the house. Can I get that money back now that we’re getting a divorce?”
I’m not an attorney, so I cannot give legal advice or provide answers to those questions. To obtain legal advice, you need to consult a qualified family law attorney. However, I can give you a general idea about how property division should work in Ohio.
Separate property is property that you owned prior to the marriage, inherited while married, or was gifted to you during the marriage. So, something like the inheritance that Aunt Jane gave you in a trust would probably be considered separate or non-marital. However, if you used the money for a down-payment on your marital home, it starts getting complicated.
Marital property is property that was purchased or earned during the marriage. It doesn’t matter how it’s owned now or whose name it is in. For example, let’s say that on the date of your marriage, you started contributing to your retirement account at work. The account is in your name, but the money was saved while you were married. This account would probably be considered marital, even if it’s in your name.
When a couple is trying to divide their assets, what seems to be “black and white” can turn to gray quickly. That’s why it’s important to have documentation to support your claim to property.
Cancelled checks, investment account statements, paperwork from the closing on property – all these documents can be pieces of the puzzle.
Having a system of organizing your data saves precious time and can cut down on legal costs. You may want to consider getting help with putting the pieces of the puzzle together. We can help you organize your finances, using a system that can provide data to help support your side of the argument.
If you want help gathering and organizing your financial data and putting it into a format that will help you negotiate or litigate from a position of strength, contact our office and request a complimentary initial consultation.
Ben Feldmeyer, CFP®, CDFA®, CLTC® is a Private Wealth Advisor and President of Feldmeyer Financial Group, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. For more information, please visit the Feldmeyer Financial Group Divorce Magazine online profile.
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