Virginia Cornwell is a Columbus, Ohio Divorce Attorney and OSBA Certified Family Relations Specialist.
What is financial misconduct? According to Ohio Revised Code 3105.171(E)(4), it is a basis upon which an Ohio divorce court can make a distributive award (we will get to that later). That statute says:
If a spouse has engaged in financial misconduct, including, but not limited to, the dissipation, destruction, concealment, nondisclosure, or fraudulent disposition of assets, the court may compensate the offended spouse with a distributive award or with a greater award of marital property.
So what does this mean in plain English? It means if you are getting divorced and your spouse is destroying, ruining, hiding, or getting rid of assets in a sneaky way, the court can give you some of their separate property to punish them. When a court does this, it is called a distributive award.
So what is separate property? Well, the answer to that can be found in the same statute, Ohio Revised Code 3105.171:
(a) “Separate property” means all real and personal property and any interest in real or personal property that is found by the court to be any of the following:
(i) An inheritance by one spouse by bequest, devise, or descent during the course of the marriage;
(ii) Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property that was acquired by one spouse prior to the date of the marriage;
(iii) Passive income and appreciation acquired from separate property by one spouse during the marriage;
(iv) Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property acquired by one spouse after a decree of legal separation issued under section 3105.17 of the Revised Code;
(v) Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property that is excluded by a valid antenuptial agreement;
(vi) Compensation to a spouse for the spouse’s personal injury, except for loss of marital earnings and compensation for expenses paid from marital assets;
(vii) Any gift of any real or personal property or of an interest in real or personal property that is made after the date of the marriage and that is proven by clear and convincing evidence to have been given to only one spouse.
So what does this all mean? It means if your spouse has separate property, and they are playing games with the marital property, the court can remedy this by giving you some of their separate property.
If you believe your spouse is hiding, destroying or transferring some of your marital property, and you would like to talk to one of our attorneys about this, please call us at 614-225-9316.
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