"Marital Property" and "Separate Property" under Ohio divorce law

A recent Ohio Court of Appeals opinion discussed the definition of, and difference between, "marital property" and "separate property."    These can be important definitions when the parties have been married for a long time and have worked on or bettered property each may have owned prior to the marriage.   Generally speaking, under Ohio law, the property you bring into the marriage (called "separate property") does not become "marital property" (property owned by both the husband and the wife) just because of the marriage.   If that separate property is segregated and remains largely unchanged during the marriage, it remains separate property.   If either or both of the parties work on or assist in the increase in value of separate property during the marriage, then that "appreciation" in value (but not the pre-marital portion) is going to be considered marital property.   Separate property can also lose its status as separate property (called "transmutation")  if it is "commingled" with marital property and the commingled part cannot be "traced" back to its separate property roots. Since there is no marriage class that people go to before marriage, many of our clients are stunned to find out that a portion of, or even all of, their separate property is now, because of how that property was treated during the marriage, allegedly marital property.