What debts do couples need to divide in an Ohio divorce?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Division Of Property

Addressing financial matters is a key element of any Ohio divorce. Some couples don’t have much to negotiate because they have a pre-existing marital agreement. They may only need to work out certain specific details about the separation of their finances.

Many others have no prior plans in place and must build a divorce settlement from scratch or prepare to litigate in family court. Separating financial resources and obligations is difficult, and every couple requires a different solution than the next. Those preparing for divorce need to think about their property, including what assets they hope to retain. They also need to identify and address their marital debts.

Many debts could be marital debts

Most married couples in Ohio have a combination of separate and marital property. What either spouse owned before marriage is their separate property. The same is true of their debts. Obligations taken on prior to marriage are typically still the responsibility of one spouse at the end of the marriage.

Most debts that originate during the marriage are potentially subject to division in the divorce. Typically, even debts taken on by just one of the spouses are subject to division in a divorce. However, there are a few exceptions. A debt that was the result of lying or fraudulent financial conduct might not be subject to division. People could also potentially exclude debts related to adultery or intentional wasteful spending immediately prior to the divorce.

Those preparing for divorce often need to go over their financial records carefully to identify inappropriate conduct and check for hidden assets. The debts that do belong to the marital estate can become the responsibility of either spouse, or the spouses might agree to pay them using marital assets as part of the divorce process. People can use debts to balance the retention of high-value assets as they work to resolve their property division matters.

Understanding how debt can affect the overall Ohio divorce process may benefit those trying to plan for the future. Spouses who have a plan for addressing both debts and assets can push for terms that work for them.