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What happens when one spouse empties a joint checking account?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | Divorce |

Divorcing means making major practical and financial adjustments. The longer that couples have remained married, the more property they share with each other and will, therefore, need to divide. In Ohio divorces, the equitable property division standard determines what happens with shared or marital property in the event of a contested divorce. Fairness is the goal, but what is considered fair can be very different from case to case.

Those who are preparing for divorce either need to reach an agreement with one another about dividing their property or need to prepare to litigate the matter in family court. An Ohio family law judge will review financial records and details about the marriage to arrive at an appropriate solution for dividing shared property.

Financial misconduct may influence property division

Generally speaking, judges try to be reasonable and fair when dividing marital property. They expect that spouses will be honest with each other and the courts and that they will abide by the law. They will need to report and share all assets and should not seek to unfairly deprive their spouse of marital property.

Thoroughly disclosing assets and appropriately sharing marital property are basic expectations during an Ohio divorce. Those who waste marital property, possibly by withdrawing thousands of dollars from a shared checking account, could have to repay their spouse for that misconduct later. Diminishing marital resources is an act of dissipation that can alter the final property division decree.

There will be a financial record of what was in the account prior to the withdrawal or to someone spending far more than they should. Those records can help the other spouse prove that the misconduct occurred and help them seek compensation during the final property division process. Oftentimes, those concerned about the possibility of a spouse intentionally diminishing marital property will ask the courts to freeze their accounts temporarily. Other times, they will go to great lengths to secure accurate financial records to prove their claims in divorce court.

Learning more about how certain forms of misconduct might influence the outcome of a divorce might help someone feel less intimidated about the possibility of financial misbehavior on the part of their spouse. Knowing that one has options is, after all, power.