In just about any divorce, each spouse has a collection of items or assets that they value more than anything else, and that might be up for grabs. This is especially true of high asset divorces involving costly or highly-valued pieces of marital property. Since Ohio uses equitable distribution laws, meaning spouses get what is fair, not an equal share, anyone going through a divorce could lose an asset they thought would remain their own. While there is nothing you can do to 100% guarantee that you will keep a piece of property during your divorce – a judge’s discretion has more power than you think – there are ways to try to safeguard them.
If you want to protect your assets, following this tips could help:
- Prenuptial agreements: Before you get too far ahead of yourself, did you get a prenuptial agreement? You would be surprised how many people forget about this crucial legal document that outlines what should and should not be done during their divorce. Double-check and you could save yourself a lot of headaches.
- Collaboration: If it is possible to do so without constant argument, working with your spouse to divide your assets can actually help you keep them. Use a collaborative approach to your divorce, or mediation with a neutral third-party attorney, to fairly stake claims and engage in a little give-and-take. Sometimes this is much more reliable than asking a judge to rule on the matter.
- Defamation: Equitable distribution means getting what you deserve. Without getting too vicious about it, if you have information of your ex-spouse’s marriage-destroying behavior, such as infidelity, drug addiction, or domestic abuse, bring it up with your attorney to discuss how it can be used in court. The right argument could make the judge see things your way and disfavor your ex-spouse.
- Appraisal: You will not know how much your largest pieces of property are worth unless you have them appraised. Consider hiring a professional appraiser for any real property, automobiles, and heirlooms. Otherwise, you could end up holding onto something of little value in exchange for another asset with actual value, such as a savings account.
- Disclosure: Trying to hide your assets during divorce is a great way to end up losing those assets and more. The court will eventually learn of all your assets; this is a guarantee – maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually. When someone is busted hiding assets, the court can penalize them by rewarding more property to their spouse during equitable distribution. Always disclose everything to keep the court’s approval.
Of Course, Legal Help Never Hurt
In any legal matter that you don’t fully understand – legalese and changing laws can make comprehension anything but easy – retaining legal counsel is always a good idea. If you’re entering a divorce and aren’t sure what is going to happen to your property, Gounaris Abboud, LPA can be of service. Our Dayton divorce lawyers can bring more than 30 years of combined legal experience to your case, instilling you with confidence that your best interests will be upheld as your divorce develops.