Understanding Fiduciary Duties In Divorce
Under California law, a spouse has a fiduciary duty to make a complete disclosure of all marital assets and debts during the divorce process. Furthermore, the spouse cannot transfer or dispose of a marital asset during this time. Failure to make a full disclosure or improperly transferring an asset can result in a court verdict adverse to the financial interests of the spouse.
At the Law Offices of Thomas M. Polinger, we have successfully represented numerous clients in cases involving disputed marital assets and unlawful transfer of marital assets. In addition, we are highly skilled at identifying hidden assets and tracing and reimbursement issues. We understand how to use the law to protect our clients’ interests and will seek to protect your rights and property during or after the divorce.
Identifying Hidden Assets
When you first speak with us about your divorce, we will ask you to make a list of all of your personal assets, your spouse’s assets, and the assets you hold together. It is important that you collect as much information about your assets and those of your spouse, including copies of financial records. This will provide us with a first-cut assessment of your situation.
Often, our firm will call upon forensic accountants and financial analysts to identify hidden assets or assets which your spouse has transferred without your knowledge. Financial assets tend to be easily traced, because there is almost always a paper trail. Situations involving non-financial assets, such as collectibles or jewelry, are more difficult but not impossible to identify and trace.
Suing For Breach Of Fiduciary Duty After Divorce
The right to sue for breach of fiduciary duty does not disappear when the divorce is finalized. Following a divorce, an individual may learn that their former spouse hid a bank account, a piece of out-of-state or international real estate, or some other property. In these cases, our Hermosa Beach breach of fiduciary duty lawyer will take action to see that the formerly hidden assets are distributed according to law.
How Much Are You Entitled To?
In a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit related to property division, you are entitled to a fair percentage of the assets that were hidden. Additionally, it is important to determine whether the assets were simply overlooked somehow or they were maliciously hidden by the other party. If the assets were intentionally hidden, you may also be entitled to damages as well.
Settlement Or Litigation To Protect Your Rights
During the divorce process, we can use the information gained to place a claim that can be satisfied through negotiation or court decision. Because hiding community or marital assets during divorce is against California law, we can go back to court on your behalf. Even after a final settlement, we can ask the court to re-open the divorce and set aside the decree with the aim of negotiating a better property settlement or presenting a strong and persuasive case and let the court decide.