Even if a divorce is amicable, dividing up the assets could turn an otherwise harmonious situation into a battle. Unlike community property states, Ohio divorce courts use an equitable distribution model to determine who gets what after the split.
That means the income, earning potential, and living standards of both parties will be taken into account. The length of the marriage and alimony or child support also factor into the equation. After everything is taken into consideration, the marital assets will be apportioned in the fairest possible manner.
However, the court only steps in to divide property when the parties are unable to come to an agreement. The equitable distribution also assumes that both are being honest about their assets and income.
During some divorce proceedings, financial misconduct is more common than you think, and it’s something that judges take very seriously.
What is financial misconduct in a divorce?
During a divorce negotiation, both parties have the responsibility to provide an honest accounting of their assets and liabilities.
However, spite or fear of losing a substantial portion of their assets leads some people to devise unscrupulous methods of hiding money, stocks, property, and other items of value from their spouse and the courts.
For example, they could put homes or vehicles in the name of a third party, hide cash or jewelry in a safety deposit box, or work under the table in order to underreport income. Even selling something for less than its market value could be considered a crime if it was done in an attempt to hide assets from your spouse.
Remedies and solutions for uncovering hidden assets
During a divorce or legal separation, both parties must complete a financial disclosure affidavit. This is a legal document that’s akin to making a statement under oath, so any false information would be considered fraud. Compensation will be awarded if such fraud is found under Ohio Revised Code Section 3105.171.
If you suspect that your spouse is being dishonest or something doesn’t look right in the disclosure statement, you have every right to challenge the information. A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst could comb through documents and request information.
Employing the services of a forensic accountant could uncover any surprise, even after the divorce is final.
Make no mistake, hiding assets during a divorce is a pretty reprehensible thing to do. It’s also an illegal act that could have dire consequences if you’re caught.