September 28, 2022
What Happens to High-Value Property in a Divorce?
Written by Erb Legal LLC
When you imagine dividing property in a divorce, you probably think of the biggest things often acquired in a marriage: houses, cars, and property. However, many other kinds of high-value property must be dealt with — especially in high-income divorces.
What Is High-Value Property?
No dollar threshold automatically qualifies property as “high value.” Several assets can be valued highly, such as:
- Jewelry, including engagement rings and wedding bands
- Vacation homes or rental properties
Separate vs. Marital Property in High-Income Divorces
Marital property refers to all property either spouse acquired during the marriage. Even if only one spouse’s name is on the deed to the home or title of a vehicle, the property is considered to belong to both spouses and would be divided equitably in a divorce.
Separate property is that which one of the spouses owned before the marriage. Inheritances awarded to a spouse and personal gifts, unless they came from the other spouse, are also considered separate property.
Are Pensions Considered Marital Property?
Pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement plans are considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution. Pensions often contain a significant portion of a spouse’s investments and can become a point of contention in a divorce.
Understanding Equitable Distribution in Ohio Divorces
Ohio courts practice equitable distribution in divorce, meaning property is fairly divided according to the court, but not necessarily equally or 50/50. Since not everything can be divided easily, equitable distribution of high-value property is often challenging.
When awarding spousal support, courts often favor the lower-earning spouse. Since the state considers each spouse’s contributions to marital property gained during the divorce, this can lead to more contention in the overall division of marital property in high-asset divorces.
Factors in Equitable Distribution
A judge will consider several factors when dividing marital property, such as:
- The length of the marriage
- Both party’s incomes and individual property
- Whether children are involved and custody decisions
- Spouses’ accustomed standards of living
- Each spouse’s age and health
How Is High-Value Property Divided?
High-value property is treated like any other assets in a divorce — with liquid assets like cash, a division is much easier. The simplest way to divide high-value property in a divorce is for the couple to agree on what should happen. This is often cost-effective and less time-consuming.
Equitable distribution comes in when the couple can’t reach an agreement. For property that’s difficult to divide, this might take the form of one spouse selling property and splitting the profit or signing it over to the other spouse while retaining an equal value in other assets.
Can A Spouse Hide High-Value Property?
A spouse may try to hide assets for their benefit in the outcome of a divorce, especially when high-value assets are involved. Common ways of concealing assets include:
- Underreporting or lying about income
- Keeping assets with a third party or in an offshore account
- Deferring raises in salary or other benefits
- Inflating expenses
Hiding assets in a divorce is illegal and heavily penalized if discovered. If you suspect your spouse is concealing assets, let your high-asset divorce attorney know right away. They can seek the help of financial experts to investigate and uncover any hidden assets.
Protect Your High-Value Property with the Help of Erb Legal
Divorces involving high-value property should be handled with care and professionalism. No matter your circumstances, the high-asset divorce attorneys at Erb Legal can offer the support and knowledge you need to find a desirable solution.
We can help you navigate the challenges of a high-asset divorce. Our years of experience in Medina equip us to help you achieve your desired outcome.