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Dividing property and hidden assets

One concern for people in Ohio who are getting a divorce may be how property will be divided. In a California divorce, a 61-year-old woman who had been the main support for her family for 10 years was concerned because her husband wanted their home and half of her 401(k). Since California, unlike Ohio, is a community property state, the husband was probably entitled to half of the 401(k), but it is unlikely that a person would be awarded an entire house in any divorce unless it was the sole property of that person or part of an agreed-upon exchange.

The woman was also concerned that her husband was hiding assets and sharing information with his sister about their finances. Neither of these is allowed. While a person may be unable to open a spouse's mail, it is possible to note the names of financial institutions on envelopes, and this may help a forensic accountant trace assets. Fighting to stop the information sharing with the sister could be more costly than it is worth, but a letter from an attorney might be sufficient to stop it. All communications with the spouse should be documented.

Divorce among older adults has risen since the 1990s. These couples may be more likely to have acquired substantial assets, such as homes and retirement accounts, than their younger counterparts.

There are other concerns with dividing retirement accounts and homes that family law attorneys will discuss with their divorcing clients. For example, when the worth of a retirement account is calculated, any taxes that must be paid on withdrawals should be considered. It may be difficult for a person to pay the mortgage for a home on a single income. Even if the home is paid for, there may be significant expenses associated with upkeep and taxes, and a lower-income spouse might be unable to afford these costs.

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