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Spousal Support & Property Division

asset division

Assets & Property Division

The division of assets and debts is one of the largest areas of contention for spouses seeking dissolution or divorce. From questions about what is marital property versus non-marital property to how the court might handle dividing a spouse's pension, divorcing couples often find themselves overwhelmed and confused.

Properly Assessing Your Marital Property

The key to any successful division of marital property is obtaining a full picture of all assets and debts tied to your marriage. Attorney Nina Scopetti will sit with you personally to review your finances to ensure that a comprehensive assessment is provided to the court. The court will then be required to equitably distribute your marital assets and equitably allocate your marital debt.
What most couples do not understand is that equitable does not necessarily mean equal, but instead refers to fairness. The court will look at all factors of your marriage, including non-marital assets of each partner and finances each partner put into the marriage, before determining a fair property division. In the end, the court will divide all assets and debts, including:
  • Each spouse's income and bank accounts
  • 401(k) accounts, retirement funds and pensions
  • The marital home and any other real estate property
  • Family businesses or other closely-held businesses
  • Other considerations relating to high-value assets
The court can then use its property division calculations to assess whether spousal support, also known as alimony, is appropriate.
You do not have to leave property division considerations up to a judge. If you and your spouse can work together, it may be in your interests to pursue an uncontested divorce or dissolution where you two will be in full control of how you divide your assets and debts. Contact our firm to learn more about mediating or negotiating your property division terms.

High-Asset Property Division

Carefully Scrutinizing High-Value Assets During Divorce
Individuals of high net worth or who have high-value assets often find themselves concerned about the proper valuation of assets. Their spouses, on the other hand, are usually worried that certain assets may be hidden from them during divorce proceedings. Regardless of which side you find yourself on, you will need dedicated family law representation.

Obtaining Full and Fair Valuation of All High-Value Assets in Your Divorce

We believe the most important thing we can do for you in your high-asset divorce is to help you receive a full property valuation. We often will employ experts, including forensic accountants, business evaluators and real estate appraisers, to assist in fully valuing the following assets and real property:
Hidden assets
Family businesses and business assets
Retirement accounts and other pensions
Real estate property
Local, national and international bank accounts
Once we have fully valued all of your property, we can then work to achieve the result you are seeking, whether that includes full asset protection during your divorce or full disclosure of all assets during the divorce proceedings.

Division of Debt

In today's challenging economy, individuals are well attuned to who is responsible for what debt. These lines become blurred in a marriage where so many assets and debts are shared. It is the goal of your lawyer to ensure that your assets and debts are equitably divided during divorce.

Many individuals think in terms of husband debt or wife debt simply because it is in one or the other's name. For the most part, marital debt is usually categorized by when the debt occurred rather than whose name is on the document. Just because a particular credit card bill, medical bill or personal loan is in one name, the court can still divide it. The debt being in your name does not necessarily mean that it is your responsibility.
It is important to note that people use the terms "equitable" and "equal" interchangeably. In Ohio, however, the terms are certainly not the same. It is our goal as your attorney to ensure that the division of assets and debts is as equal as possible based on the financial differences of the parties.

Prenuptual Agreements

Historically, marital agreements have been cast in a negative light. It can be uncomfortable for couples to discuss what will happen during their divorce even before they are married. In recent years, however, prenuptial agreements are seen as the helpful organizational tools that they were always intended to be.
Prenuptial agreements, often simply referred to as "prenups," are designed to address issues of assets and debts should the marriage ultimately fail to work. It is the goal of an experienced attorney to carefully examine all of the premarital assets and debts in order to thoroughly organize and classify using a marital contract. Couples now consider these agreements as insurance against future disputes. Contact our firm with further questions regarding prenuptial agreements.
It is important to remember that an effective marital contract requires full disclosure of assets and debts. Additionally, the document should be completed well in advance of the actual marriage. Schedule a consultation to learn more.

Business Evaluation

We will work with you to have the business properly valued by a financial expert. We will also investigate all potential issues that may arise, including each spouse's interest or dependency on the business and the valuation of the business as marital property versus non-marital property.
If the business was created after the marriage occurred, then the business will generally be considered a marital asset. This is true regardless of which party is the officer or principal. If the business was created prior to the marriage, this does not automatically deem it non-marital property. Generally, businesses grow in value. That increase in value can be deemed marital property and thus can be included in the property division process.
asset division

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and Division of Property Order (DOPO)

As couples diversify portfolios through stocks, bonds, retirement accounts and pensions, it can be more difficult to divide assets when divorce becomes a reality. You need a skilled lawyer who can carefully examine your finances and guide you through mediation toward a beneficial outcome.
There are methods in place for dividing retirement accounts, and the document to use relies on your employment.
  • QDRO: If you work in the private sector, a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) can be drafted to instruct a plan administrator how to divide a 401(k), Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other plan.
  • DOPO: If you work in the public sector, a division of property order (DOPO) can be drafted to instruct a plan administrator how to divide retirement plans such as Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) or the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS).
Do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with an attorney at our firm. Matters related to division of assets and debts can become complex and you need a skilled lawyer on your side.