In Ohio, when two people are divorcing, the two parties are required to provide an extensive disclosure that lists all assets, income, liabilities, and expenses. Marital dissolutions become extremely complicated when one spouse chooses to prevent an equitable division of the marital property. When one spouse tries to obstruct this process, the other spouse’s attorney must defend their client against these acts of financial misconduct. Inappropriate conduct may include destruction, transfer, non-disclosure, concealment, dissipation, and fraudulent disposition of assets.
Suppose your spouse engages in financial misconduct during the divorce process. In that case, Ohio Divorce Laws authorize a judge to punish the spouse engaging in these efforts to thwart the court’s task of attaining an equitable property settlement.
In order for the court to penalize the spouse for attempting to manipulate the property distribution in your divorce, it is important to understand the basic concepts concerning property division in a divorce case.
Marital property may include the following:
- All personal property and real property (real estate) the spouses acquired during their marriage.
- All interest in real or personal property acquired during the marriage, including contributions to retirement accounts.
In the State of Ohio, separate property includes:
- Property obtained before marriage;
- Inheritances awarded to a spouse;
- Property assigned as separate in an anti-nuptial agreement or prenuptial agreement;
- Passive income or appreciation from separate property;
- Property received following a legal separation under Section 2105.17;
- Gifts to spouses after the marriage;
- Compensation received from personal injury recovery (excluding lost earnings while married).
According to Ohio Revised Code 3105.171(E)(4), the courts are empowered to compensate a spouse who is the victim of financial misconduct or misrepresentation. The judge might punish attempts to hide, misrepresent, or dissipate property during a divorce by giveing the spouse who has been harmed a larger share of the marital property. This is sometimes referred to as a “distributive award”. A “distributive award” according to Ohio Revised Code Section 3105.171 includes an award from the separate property of the spouse who engaged in inappropriate financial wrongdoing.
Take your financial disclosure duty seriously and avoid trying to waste, fraudulently give assets away or convey to family, friends, or associates for less than fair market value. The consequences for not disclosing assets are severe. In some Ohio divorce cases, the courts punished the party who did not disclose marital assets by awarding all of the marital assets to the innocent spouse.
You may need the assistance of our Columbus divorce lawyer to help you uncover the wrongdoing and any undisclosed assets such as:
- Selling assets for less than market value;
- Hiding business cash income;
- Opening hidden bank accounts;
- Opening secret investment accounts;
- Titling property to others; and
- Giving property or cash to a secret lover.
If you think your spouse is or is planning to hide or move assets to keep you from receiving your equitable share of the marital property, contact our experienced Columbus divorce lawyer Shannon Dawes. At Dawes Legal, LLC, we recognize the financial foundation upon which you will rebuild your life after divorce depends on the share of the property you receive in your marital dissolution. We invite you to call us today at 614-733-9999.