If you have friends or family members who have navigated the civil justice system in order to settle a divorce, you’ve likely heard more than a few stories about how stressful and contentious such proceedings can get, especially if one of the spouses involved refuses to follow the rules or to be fair. One of the most common types of proceeding problems often arises when it’s time for the court to divide marital property.

Ohio is an equitable division state, which means you may not walk away from divorce with an exact 50/50 split of your assets, but you can be confident that the judge overseeing your case will determine a fair division. That can be a tremendous challenge, however, if your spouse is acting behind the scenes to try to hide assets so that you don’t get all that you are entitled to at settlement.

You don’t have to sit back and watch your money disappear

Hiding assets in divorce is illegal and no judge is going to look favorably on a spouse who tries to gain the upper-hand in property division proceedings by committing such acts to try to beat the system. The following list includes signs that your spouse may be hiding assets:

  • Money is vanishing from your jointly owned account and you have not approved the withdrawals.
  • Your spouse has become suddenly generous and is loaning large amounts of cash to friends or family members. This is a common trick whereby a spouse gets someone to agree to hold onto money until the court finalizes a divorce.
  • If the Internal Revenue Service informs you that your spouse overpaid in taxes or he or she has sent an overpayment on a credit card balance, it could be part of a hidden asset scheme.
  • Are you receiving mail at your house that appears to be statements for accounts you did not know existed? This is a big red flag that your spouse might be hiding money.

The more you know about your finances before heading to court for divorce, the better. If you suspect that your spouse is trying to give you the short end of the financial stick, you have every right to further investigate the matter and to bring it to the court’s immediate attention.

The system is set up for fairness

Part of divorce proceedings is the discovery phase, where you and your spouse exchange pertinent financial information. Full disclosure is necessary so that the court can garner all information it needs to create a fair property division plan. Your spouse can face perjury or contempt of court charges for refusing to disclose or intentionally omitting information under oath.