While a Dayton, Ohio, couple who is going through a divorce or separation will generally be expected to divide up their property fairly, this rule does not apply to all property.
Specifically, an Ohio resident who can raise a valid claim that a particular asset is her separate property may be allowed to keep the value of that property outright, that is, without having to share with her spouse.
The phrase separate property has a particular legal meaning under Ohio law. In other words, a person cannot claim property is separate simply because it is in his name alone or even because he put most of the time and energy in to preserving the property.
However, each spouse is allowed to keep property that she inherits individually, even if the inheritance happens in the course of the marriage. Likewise, so long as a spouse can conclusively prove a gift was only intended to be to that spouse, gifts of money and other property are separate. Finally, property that each spouse brought in to the marriage will be treated as separate.
Interestingly, Ohio also specifically includes most compensation for a personal injury to be the separate property of the injured victim. Ohio law also has a provision that says separate property includes any property described as such by a prenuptial agreement, so long as the agreement complies with Ohio law.
Because it is not subject to property division in the event of a divorce or separation, both spouses may have a lot at stake when it comes to arguing about whether a given asset is or is not separate property. As a result, someone with concerns about this aspect of property division should consider speaking to an experienced family law attorney.