In a California divorce, most of your property may get divided. The state has community property laws that give each spouse an interest in assets and income acquired by either spouse during the marriage.
Generally, family law judges in California will do their best to be fair when they divide community property not governed by a marital agreement. However, some people will try to secure an unfair outcome by hiding community property from their ex from the courts.
Recognizing some of the ways people hide marital assets prior to a divorce can help you protect your own financial interest.
Diverting money directly into a hidden bank account
It is totally normal to want some kind of nest egg that you can depend on during divorce proceedings. You will likely have cost of living expenses to cover without help from your spouse, attorney expenses and other financial needs to manage on your own.
It is not inherently inappropriate for one spouse to set aside money for themselves prior to filing for divorce. Still, they have to disclose that account and the full amount of its balance to the courts and their ex for fairness.
Removing or hiding physical assets worth a lot of money
Some people will start furnishing an apartment before they even tell their spouse they want to move out of the family house. If you have noticed that furniture, electronics, works of art or valuable personal items have gone missing from your home, that might be because your spouse has moved them elsewhere. They should still include those personal assets in their inventory of property and assign an appropriate value to them.
Undervaluing assets that their spouse won’t want to keep
Most men don’t actually want to take half of the jewelry that their wife bought during the marriage, nor would that wife likely want to take her husband’s sports memorabilia in the divorce.
However, especially when it comes to valuable personal property, it is crucial that you determine the fair market value for those assets. Your spouse could have tens of thousands of dollars worth of personal property that you may not want to keep. You still need to know the value of those assets if you hope to push for a fair outcome in your upcoming divorce.
Recognizing some of the ways that people can manipulate the financial processes of divorce can make it easier for you to protect yourself while dividing your property.