The term "equitable division" can cause confusion for people in Ohio. It refers to a fair division of property between spouses rather than a 50-50 split down the middle, with each spouse receiving half. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for one spouse to unfairly try to tip the scales in his or her own favor by hiding assets from the other. If your spouse is hiding assets from you in anticipation of your impending divorce, you should know that it is not only unfair to you, it is also against the law.
According to the Good Men Project, some efforts to hide assets are relatively simple. For example, your spouse may simply lie about income and/or debt levels. Other schemes are more elaborate, involving the transfer of assets to accomplices or manipulation of financial documents.
If your spouse is particularly stealthy, it may be difficult for you to detect what he or she is doing. Nevertheless, there are telltale signs to watch for that can indicate what your spouse may be up to. The following are a few examples.
1. Your spouse refuses more income
This may take the form of turning down a promotion or delaying in signing a new contract at his or her place of business that would result in more money. This keeps your spouse's income level artificially low. You may find that your spouse has conspired with his or her employer to accept the promotion after the divorce and receive a backdated salary.
2. Your spouse maintains the same expenses
In other words, your spouse's spending habits do not change significantly despite his or her reports of a decrease in income. As a smokescreen, sometimes your spouse will complain vocally about being in debt and not having enough money.
3. You cannot access financial records
Your spouse may change passwords so that you cannot access financial information online. You may find that programs like QuickBooks and other accounting applications mysteriously disappear from your computer, or your spouse may claim that the computer containing the information has crashed.
If you have reason to believe that your spouse may be hiding assets from you, it may be necessary to enlist the help of professionals to find out for sure.
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.