What happens when a party fails to disclose an asset in a divorce case in Santa Barbara?
In short, if the asset is a community,, it can either be divided 50-50, or awarded 100% to the spouse who did not conceal the asset if there is a finding that a spouse hid the asset with "malice." Additionally, the court can award the non-concealing spouse 100% of its attorney fees incurred.
California Family Code § 2556 grants the family court continuing jurisdiction to award community assets and debts that have not previously been awarded in the case (i.e. omitted assets). Either party may seek a court order dividing the omitted assets and debts.
A failure to disclose an asset is a breach of a spouse’s fiduciary duties. California Family Code § 1101(a)creates a cause of action that results in impairment to a spouse’s undivided one-half interest in the community estate. See IRMO Prentis-Margulis & Margulis(2011) 198 Cal. App. 4th1252, 1270. The offending party may be ordered pay the attorney’s fees incurred in the breach of fiduciary duty. California Family Code § 1101(g) & (h). If the breach of fiduciary duty constitutes fraud, oppression or malice, the remedy “shall include, but not be limited to, an award to the other spouse of 100 percent, or an amount equal to 100 percent, of any asset undisclosed or transferred in breach of the fiduciary duty. California Family Code §1101(h).
If you believe that your spouse concealed an asset in your divorce case, or are being wrongfully accused of doing so, call Morales Law today for a free consultation. Our Santa Barbara Divorce Lawyers will fight to ensure your case is well-presented to the court. (805) 422-7966