Property Division

The attorneys at the Cincinnati family law firm of Phyllis G. Bossin & Associates, A Legal Professional Association, represent individuals and families across Hamilton County and surrounding counties.

One of the major issues in any divorce involves dividing marital property, while taking into account the non-marital property as well. Under Ohio law, all marital property must be divided in a fair and equitable fashion.

It is important to understand that an equitable division of property does not necessarily mean an equal division of property. Under Ohio law, judges must initially presume an equal division. If one party is able to show evidence of serious economic misconduct, the court may deviate from an equal division of property. Examples of economic misconduct may include wasting marital assets. In addition, when one spouse owns substantially more marital property, the court may not award an equal property division.

One important question that must be answered in any divorce is what constitutes non-marital, or separate property, and what constitutes marital property. Property that either spouse brings into the marriage is considered to be separate property. In addition, property acquired by gift or inheritance is also considered to be non-marital property.

All property acquired during the marriage with marital funds or through marital effort will be deemed to be marital, regardless of how it is titled. Property that was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage but which has increased in value over the course of the marriage may be considered a mixed asset. Whether an asset has appreciated during the marriage due to passive forces, such as market appreciation, or through marital effort, is often hotly disputed and the subject of litigation.

The determination of an exact number to put on marital versus separate property can often be an art, not a science. It is imperative to retain the services of trustworthy, reliable experts who will be accurate in their assessments regardless of which side they are representing and not be perceived simply as a "hired gun."

There are often disputes as to whether an asset is non-marital or marital, including whether a non-marital asset has been transmuted and become a marital asset. Often these disputes involve a determination of the intent of the transfer or a difficult tracing of the assets over many years and through multiple transactions. The burden of proving that an asset is non-marital is on the person making the claim. Significant evidence must be established to meet this burden of proof.

An issue in the division of property is the value of the property in question. Whether it is valuing a piece of real estate in a volatile real estate market or valuing a closely held corporation, expert witnesses will be required to assist in establishing value. These issues often become highly contentious with experts holding widely varying opinions.

Our lawyers are experienced in dealing with complex business valuations. When necessary, we enlist the services of renowned experts. The attorneys at our firm have substantial experience in addressing these complex issues.

To learn more or to set up a consultation, contact our office in Cincinnati, Ohio, at 513-421-4420 or use our online contact form.