Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.
Has there been a decree of legal separation issued by a court in your situation?
Not at this time.
Thank you. One moment please while I research this, and will get back to you shortly...
Unfortunately there's not an absoluteway to get this to be separate property without a court order of a legal separation.
a) "Marital property" means, subject to division (A)(3)(b) of this section, all of the following:
(i) All real and personal property that currently is owned by either or both of the spouses, including, but not limited to, the retirement benefits of the spouses, and that was acquired by either or both of the spouses during the marriage;
(ii) All interest that either or both of the spouses currently has in any real or personal property, including, but not limited to, the retirement benefits of the spouses, and that was acquired by either or both of the spouses during the marriage;
(iii) Except as otherwise provided in this section, all income and appreciation on separate property, due to the labor, monetary, or in-kind contribution of either or both of the spouses that occurred during the marriage;
(iv) A participant account, as defined in section 148.01 of the Revised Code, of either of the spouses, to the extent of the following: the moneys that have been deferred by a continuing member or participating employee, as defined in that section, and that have been transmitted to the Ohio public employees deferred compensation board during the marriage and any income that is derived from the investment of those moneys during the marriage; the moneys that have been deferred by an officer or employee of a municipal corporation and that have been transmitted to the governing board, administrator, depository, or trustee of the deferred compensation program of the municipal corporation during the marriage and any income that is derived from the investment of those moneys during the marriage; or the moneys that have been deferred by an officer or employee of a government unit, as defined in section 148.06 of the Revised Code, and that have been transmitted to the governing board, as defined in that section, during the marriage and any income that is derived from the investment of those moneys during the marriage.
(b) "Marital property" does not include any separate property.
"Separate property" means all real and personal property and any interest in real or personal property that is found by the court to be any of the following:
(i) An inheritance by one spouse by bequest, devise, or descent during the course of the marriage;
(ii) Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property that was acquired by one spouse prior to the date of the marriage;
(iii) Passive income and appreciation acquired from separate property by one spouse during the marriage;
(iv) Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property acquired by one spouse after a decree of legal separation issued under section 3105.17 of the Revised Code;
(v) Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property that is excluded by a valid antenuptial agreement;
(vi) Compensation to a spouse for the spouse's personal injury, except for loss of marital earnings and compensation for expenses paid from marital assets;
(vii) Any gift of any real or personal property or of an interest in real or personal property that is made after the date of the marriage and that is proven by clear and convincing evidence to have been given to only one spouse.
So in short, there's not a way to automatically make this separate property that would not be subject to a property distribution.
You could sign a marital property agreement where you decide whom owns what, and that anything from the date of the signing on will be the respective property and debt of the indviidual that gets it.
And it's likely that the agreement would be accepted by the court. But it is not required to do so:
Per the law: " In making a division of marital property and in determining whether to make and the amount of any distributive award under this section, the court shall consider all of the following factors:
(1) The duration of the marriage;
(2) The assets and liabilities of the spouses;
(3) The desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to reside in the family home for reasonable periods of time, to the spouse with custody of the children of the marriage;
(4) The liquidity of the property to be distributed;
(5) The economic desirability of retaining intact an asset or an interest in an asset;
(6) The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective awards to be made to each spouse;
(7) The costs of sale, if it is necessary that an asset be sold to effectuate an equitable distribution of property;
(8) Any division or disbursement of property made in a separation agreement that was voluntarily entered into by the spouses;
(9) Any retirement benefits of the spouses, excluding the social security benefits of a spouse except as may be relevant for purposes of dividing a public pension;
(10) Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable. "
Number 8 says that the court will consider the agreement, and most of the time they will abide by that agreement if it was voluntary and fair. But there's no way to absolutely take it out of the hands of the court until a legal separation or divorce has actually already occurred.
Here's information on how to prepare a separation agreement: http://www.ehow.com/how_5143460_prepare-ohio-legal-separation-agreement.html
Here's a place that has a sample separation agreement (in North Carolina, but you can modify the language and make it applicable to Ohio)
So long as it's fair and a complete understanding of the property, then it should be accepted. But just note that there's no obligation to accept it by the courts. There is still discretion there.
Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!