Amy M. Levine & Associates, Attorneys at Law, LLC
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Hiding assets and other divorce fraud

Many Ohio couples who are facing the end of a marriage realize that property division is an important part of the process. In some cases, assets might be hidden by one spouse, making this complex. Knowing where to look and warning signs that may indicate assets or income was hidden is essential.

There are warning signs that may reveal that one of the spouses is not being completely transparent. Incoming mail may suddenly be sent to an alternate address such as a work place or a post office box. A spouse may become secretive, lying or acting in a deceptive manner. The number of ATM withdrawals may increase without a viable explanation. Over time, financial diversion may increase.

The concept of marital deception may include acts such as cheating or lying. Fraudulent behavior generally relates to finances and involves certain characteristics. To commit fraud, there is usually an opportunity the perpetrator believes is reasonably safe. A need for money is also present. Uncovering hidden assets during a divorce may require the assistance of a forensic accountant, particularly for high-asset marriages or those where one spouse may have hidden funds. An accounting expert might review bank and retirement accounts, tax returns, business financial records and property ownership. Business owners have ample opportunity to hide funds, along with employees with stock options and bonuses . Preventing fraudulent behavior in terms of marital assets may mean setting up a system where both spouses have access to and decision making power over finances.

Even in cases where no fraud is suspected, a divorcing spouse may want the assistance of an attorney in determining what assets should be regarded as marital property. The attorney can proceed with negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that will cover property division as well as other applicable divorce legal issues.

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