Did you know that November is National “Fun with Fondue” Month? Cheese fondue is thought to have originated with economical Swiss country folk looking for a way to use up hard cheese and stale bread.
While the French usually get credit for creating steak fondue, chocolate fondue was invented in New York City in the 1960s. That means Americans can claim this fun dessert as our own! (However, in fairness, it should be noted that the inventor was a restaurateur from Switzerland.)
What Happens with the Fondue Pot?
People familiar with the dish know that fondue involves dipping food into a communal pot with a long-handled fork. The easiest way to serve fondue is with a pot specially designed to heat the liquid inside to just the right temperature.
So what happens when a couple divorces and they both want to keep the family fondue pot? While it can seem like a humorous question, it raises a serious point about the division of property in a divorce. Often, household items have a special meaning or value for both spouses. How is that property handled when the household is split up in a divorce?
How Property is Handled in Ohio Divorces
Ohio law calls for an “equitable” division of marital property when a couple divorces. This means the marital property should be divided in a way the court believes to be fair, and that may or may not be an equal split.
Of course, if a couple has a single fondue pot, they are not going to cut it in half. One spouse would get the pot and the other would receive something else of value.
If you are planning to get divorced, it is good to review your personal property and decide which things are important to you. Your divorce attorney could negotiate to enable you to keep the property with the most personal value while ideally giving up items you care nothing about.
That Fondue Pot Could Be Separate Property
While marital property is divided during a divorce, each spouse is entitled to keep property that is considered “separate.” Property is marital if it was acquired during the marriage with funds acquired from marital effort (i.e. either spouse’s income from employment or providing a service). Separate property consists of assets one spouse owned before the marriage, or typically property one spouse receives as a gift or through an inheritance.
Property that starts out as separate may also develop marital value over time. For instance, if one spouse owned an old car before the wedding and during the marriage, that spouse invested marital funds in restoration, the car or part of its value could be treated as marital property. A spouse who wishes to keep certain property classified as separate should consult a family law attorney and take the steps advised to avoid changing the character of the property.
With something like a fondue pot that is not likely to appreciate in value or receive a substantial upgrade, a spouse who entered the marriage with the pot is likely to be able to leave with it as separate property.
Help with Property Division in Ohio Divorce
Fondue may be fun, but divorce usually is not. If you need help assessing, classifying, or valuing property as part of a divorce, the experienced divorce attorneys at Weis Law Group would be happy to assist. For a confidential consultation to learn more, contact us today.