Breaking up with your spouse is more than just an emotional split. It may mean the separation of your assets and the division of your property. If you and your spouse have accumulated significant assets during your marriage, obtaining a fair portion may be a challenge, especially if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets to keep them from the divorce.
You have a right to a fair portion of any assets accumulated while you and your spouse were married. Unless you signed a prenuptial agreement that protects some of those assets from property division, your spouse may hide them from you. You will want to recognize the signs of this deception and know how to proceed to obtain proof.
Where are the assets?
Perhaps you began suspecting money was missing from the earliest stirrings of divorce between you and your spouse. You can do the following if you suspect your spouse is not giving an honest disclosure of accounts:
- Watch for statements in your spouse's name alone, from banks other than where your family accounts are or from credit card companies where you don't have accounts.
- Check the payments on your credit cards for substantial overpayments that create a credit balance for your spouse.
- Be aware of purchases your spouse makes of artwork, vehicles, real estate or other assets which can easily be undervalued during property division.
- Find out exactly how much your spouse earns, especially if part of the salary is cash and not reported on his or her W-2.
- Look for evidence that your spouse is loaning money to friends or family or is paying them for nonexistent loans.
- If you suspect your spouse is being unfaithful, look for proof that he or she is spending money on the new romantic interest.
- Check your bank statement for monthly charges to the post office, which may indicate your spouse has a PO box.
These are just a few of the signs that may point to financial dishonesty in the wake of your divorce. With this information, your attorney can assist you in taking legal steps to obtain these assets or the information necessary to include them in your divorce order. This may include testimony under oath, subpoenas for documents and court orders allowing for the inspection of safe deposit boxes and other property. You have the right to obtain your fair share of marital assets under California law.