If you’re in the midst of a divorce, you’re likely wrestling with many new challenges. While the emotional toll of your marriage ending is difficult enough, you also have to start navigating the distribution of marital and separate property, including a family trust, which can sometimes get messy.
Regarding divorce, Ohio is considered an equitable division state, meaning that all marital property is divided equitably between the divorcing spouses. This terminology might leave you wondering if your family’s trust is protected from divorce. A qualified Ohio divorce attorney can help you navigate property division and help you better understand your rights.
What Assets Are Classified as Marital Property?
In general, marital property refers to any and all assets acquired during the duration of the marriage. These items can include:
- Marital House
- Personal property
- Bank accounts
- Retirement benefits
- Life Insurance
Separate property includes any assets or items one spouse brought into the marriage, inherited or were gifted. In Ohio, a judge will work under the assumption that all marital property will be subject to equal division. It is the job of your divorce lawyer to present any evidence that warrants a property division that isn’t considered equal.
Are Family Trusts Protected in Divorce?
To protect a family trust in divorce, you need to ensure the trust isn’t classified as shared marital property. By working with your Ohio divorce attorney, you can track the source of the trust to prove that it was yours before you got married.
Many people assume that a trust can be used to shield assets in the event of a divorce. The laws in Ohio are a little more complex than that, and a lawyer can help you review your trust and determine if the assets contained in it will be divided in your divorce.
To prove that a trust is not shared marital property, you must provide the following information:
- Proof that your name is stated as the sole beneficiary of the family trust
- The date the trust was created, primarily if the trust was funded before the marriage
- When you became the beneficiary of the trust, especially if it was before the marriage
- How much control you exert over the trust
Since there are countless types of trusts, you need to know which type you have.
If your family trust is revocable, you are usually appointed as both the trustee and the beneficiary. In this case, it’s easy to move assets around or shut the trust down easily.
If you have an irrevocable trust, the grantor has given up control, and the trust is final. The grantor has no right to shut it down or move assets around.
Understanding Your Rights in Ohio Divorce
The type of family trust you have can matter when it comes to divorce in Ohio. Speak with our OSBA certified family law specialist attorney at the Law Offices of Kenneth R. Kline LLC, and we can help you navigate the ins and outs of property division in divorce. Contact our office and get a risk-free consultation from a certified attorney who understands Ohio divorce laws.