Separate Property in Spousal Divorce

In my April blog, I listed some of the many reasons a forensic accountant might be hired in spousal divorce, and then in June, I wrote broadly about analyzing income and determining cash flow as a step in determining whether support is appropriate.  Following this same pattern, today I will offer basics regarding a forensic accountant’s analysis of separate property.

In the state of Ohio, separate property is defined as property owned before the marriage, gifts or inheritances received during the marriage, and some personal injury awards.  Separate property can be excluded from the marital estate if and only if it can be proven to be separate (following the definitions provided above).  As one might imagine, the burden of proof lies with the spouse claiming the separate property; that burden is best shouldered by a forensic accountant who can conduct detailed analysis of the accounts through which the assets flowed.  In some cases, even if what is separate has been comingled with marital monies, it may still be traceable, shown as separate, and therefore excluded from the division of marital assets.  At the conclusion of the tracing, assuming the property is in fact determined to be separate, it is the responsibility of the forensic accountant to present his or her findings in a clear and concise manner to facilitate negotiation or to present the findings to the Trier of Fact.

Once again, all of this illustrates a key theme: comprehensively understanding the facts and analyzing the appropriate data allows for effective and efficient problem solving in the complicated arena of spousal divorce.

Please contact me at bpetrie@claruspartners.com or (614) 545-9100, if you have complex financial issues that need be understood and presented simply and cleanly.  At Clarus, we bring clarity to complex financial issues so you can make solid, well-informed financial decisions.

I am not an attorney and do not purport to be giving legal advice.  If you are seeking legal advice, please consult your attorney.

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