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What is a distributive award in property division?

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2023 | Divorce |

When Ohio couples get divorced, property is often a point of contention during the case. Since Ohio is an equitable distribution state, the court will try to achieve what it believes is a fair split. It does not need to be equal. However, in its attempt to craft a fair outcome, it could order a distributive award. Knowing what this means and how it impacts the case is imperative.

Understanding a distributive award in a divorce

The objective with a distributive award is to address issues with dividing marital property. A lien could be ordered as part of this award. It can be done in lieu of marital property to try and reach an equitable result if it is found that dividing marital property would somehow lead to undue burden or simply not be practical.

An example of when there might be a distributive award is if there is a marital home that one side wants to retain. If both contributed to its purchase, maintenance, upkeep and improvement, then it will generally be viewed as marital property. Instead of going through an extended dispute in trying to determine how to split it, there can be a distributive award where one buys out the other or exchanges a different property for the home.

Both parties must disclose all assets. That includes marital property, separate property, income they receive, debts and expenses. A distributive award is frequently used when there has been financial misconduct during the marriage. Perhaps the person owned a business, accrued massive debt, receive a bonus from work they withheld from the other, or committed fraud. This too will result in a distributive award to benefit the person who was victimized.

The court will consider all relevant factors with a distributive award including how long the couple was married, the level of liquidity in the marital property, if someone wants to retain the marital home, the level of assets, their liabilities, costs of selling property, retirement benefits and tax consequences.

Be protected when dividing property in a divorce

A distributive award will be used in specific circumstances during asset division. While the case does not absolutely need to be contentious for there to be this type of award, it is common for there to be complexities that make it necessary. It is essential to understand what it means and how it can lead to a fair division of property.