When you and your spouse choose to dissolve your marriage, a California judge will attempt to divide your shared property as equitably as possible. A 50-50 split between the two of you may seem like the most fair arrangement, but what is fair is not necessarily just. At Butler, Thiessen & Metzinger, Inc. & Associates, we have seen cases in which one spouse attempted to deceive the other by hiding assets by retitling or misappropriation. If you are the victimized spouse in a case such as this, the court may decide to award you a larger share of community assets.
If your spouse is self-employed or owns a business, he or she has multiple avenues available to disguise the unauthorized transfer of community property. A salaried worker has fewer such opportunities, although that does not mean that he or she will not attempt it. There are many reasons why one spouse may misappropriate assets: an illicit affair, a costly addiction or a desire to line his or her own pockets in the event of a likely divorce. Regardless of the reasons for it, this behavior amounts to marital misconduct, and the court may penalize your spouse by reducing his or her share of the property.
Professionals specializing in the fields of private investigation or forensic accounting, working in concert with family law attorneys, can discover hidden assets and identify suspicious transactions in order to obtain a full listing of community assets to present to the court. More information on hidden assets is available on our website.