How does marriage affect ownership of property?
In Ohio, the act of getting married does not give either party an ownership interest in assets that were owned by the other spouse before the marriage. Assets acquired after the marriage may be owned jointly by the couple or held as the separate property of either spouse. However, if one spouse dies, the survivor may be entitled to support, an interest in real property and the right to remain in the couple's home for at least one year - even if all assets were titled in the deceased spouse's name. Other rules apply to ownership of real estate. A non-owner spouse has an ownership (dower) interest in real estate, whether acquired before or after the marriage, that cannot be released without his or her consent. In case of a divorce, a domestic relations court decides how assets will be divided among the spouses.

With these thoughts in mind, couples who are planning to marry or who have been recently married may wish to consult a lawyer and, if they have substantial assets already, an investment counselor. They should consider drafting a Will or a new Will if either has previously been married. They may also wish to consider whether to obtain a safe deposit box, whether or how to caption or re-title bank accounts, investments, credit cards, real property titles or titles for motor vehicles, boats or trailers, whether to obtain life insurance policies, or whether to change the designation of beneficiary or dependent upon existing policies of life insurance, health care or other insurances.

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1. What is a marriage relationship?
2. How does marriage affect ownership of property?
3. How do I obtain a marriage license?