Spouses have a fiduciary duty to disclose their finances to each other in divorce cases. This obligation is ongoing and requires that the parties update and augment their legal family law disclosure documents throughout the family court divorce process until judgment has been granted by the court. Failure to do so, even if the party believes it to be separate property, can result in a set-aside or reversal of the judgment and an award of the non-disclosed asset to the other party without offset.
California Family Code §721 characterizes the relationship between spouses as a fiduciary relationship and pursuant to Family Code §2100 et seq., the parties must make full, accurate and complete disclosure of all assets and liabilities to each other. The family law court wants to ensure that there is a fair division of the community property and that those assets and debts that exist at the date of separation are preserved and protected. Failure to do so could result in a set-aside or reversal of your case as evidenced in the well-known “lottery case,” the family law case law In Re Marriage of Rossi (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 34. In this family law case, one party failed to disclose the $1.3 million winnings of a California lottery ticket, winnings that the party concealed from the other. The family law court found that the non-disclosure was deliberate and, despite the party’s contention that the winnings were separate property, the family law court awarded the non-disclosed asset in its entirety to the other party.
If you have California family law questions or need legal help with family court papers for divorce or another family law process, call the attorneys at Family Law Center, (916) 488-5088.