Divorce proceedings can be very complicated, especially when it comes to dividing a couple’s property. Many people understandably find the process of dividing their marital assets to be very stressful, but it is nevertheless an important step that can help ensure that you are on firm financial footing for your post-divorce life. The truth is that the financial decisions that are made during divorce can have a long-term impact on your financial well-being over the course of your life.
As part of any divorce in Ohio, couples are required to provide a full and accurate financial disclosure to ensure that their property is divided equitably. Without an honest accounting of assets and debts, it’s impossible to come to a fair agreement about how to divide a couple’s property. Unfortunately, some spouses may attempt to hide or conceal assets from their partner in an effort to avoid having to lose all or part of those concealed assets or as part of an attempt to avoid or reduce their alimony and/or child support obligations.
If you suspect that your ex is hiding assets from you, it is essential that you act as soon as possible to try and uncover those assets. This blog will discuss what steps should be taken if you believe your spouse may be attempting to conceal any marital property or other assets during divorce proceedings.
How Property Division Works in Ohio
Ohio is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the court will divide marital property between spouses in a way it deems to be fair and equitable. This does not mean you’re your assets will necessarily be automatically divided 50/50. Instead, the court takes many factors into consideration when making this determination, including each spouse's contributions to the marriage, economic circumstances of each party, any pre- or postnuptial agreements, and more.
In order for the judge to make a determination of what is fair, both parties need to honestly and openly disclose all their assets and liabilities. This includes any property they may consider to be separate property.
What Steps Should You Take if You Suspect Your Ex Is Hiding Assets?
If you suspect your ex is attempting to conceal any assets from you during divorce proceedings, here are some steps that you should take in order to protect yourself:
Document any evidence that you may have that could indicate asset-hiding activity by your former partner. This may include:
- Bank statements
- Tax documents
- Real estate records
- Employment information
- Investment records
- Business records
It can also be beneficial to review any communication between you and your ex-spouse – whether through text or email – which could potentially provide hints of asset concealing activities being employed during the divorce process. If you’re not sure if something is relevant or you’re not sure what it means, make a copy of it to give to your attorney.
Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney
A divorce lawyer who has experience with complex or high asset divorces will be able to provide guidance throughout the entire legal process as well as help you identify items of value which your spouse may potentially be attempting to conceal from view. Your lawyer may suggest filing a discovery request with the court in order to gain access to financial records held by your former partner or file an asset search motion asking for permission to conduct searches on property such as real estate holdings or bank accounts.
Your attorney may also suggest that you consult with an experienced forensic accountant who can help uncover irregularities or suspicious activities. It’s important that you take proactive measures to ensure that your financial future is protected.
At Crossman & McNamee LLC, our attorneys are prepared to help guide you through this difficult process. We strive to resolve divorces with minimal conflict but remain dedicated to protecting our client’s best interests through every measure available to us, if necessary.
If you suspect your ex is hiding assets, contact us online or call us at (937) 468-3796 to schedule a consultation so that we can discuss your situation in detail.