Wail Sarieh
By: Wail Sarieh

How To Prove False Statements Were Made About Assets In A Divorce Case

Divorce

In a California divorce, the spouses are required to disclose information regarding their assets, properties, incomes, and debts. This way, assets, properties, and debts can be equally divided, and both spouses can make informed decisions regarding finances during the divorce proceeding.

In some divorces, however, spouses may not disclose everything about their assets and properties. If a divorcing spouse does not honestly disclose all of his or her properties and assets, the other spouse could be cheated out of what is legally his or hers. Can a divorce attorney in Orange County, CA help?

If your spouse tries to deceive the court when he or she fills out the financial disclosure statements at the start of a divorce proceeding, how can you prove it? A just and fair divorce settlement will require the truth.

IN CALIFORNIA DIVORCES, HOW ARE ASSETS AND PROPERTY DIVIDED?

A final divorce settlement in California divides the marital assets and property and sometimes requires one spouse to pay child support and/or alimony. You are about to learn how an experienced California divorce lawyer can protect what is legally yours.

Dividing the marital property and assets in a California divorce begins with financial declaration disclosures by both parties. A financial declaration must include all of the divorcing spouse’s income, properties, assets, debts, and expenditures.

financial disclosures

Property acquired in the course of a marriage is usually categorized as marital property. Anything owned prior to the marriage is categorized as personal property. It may not sound challenging, but accurately dividing marital property can be an exceedingly difficult procedure.

WHAT PAPERWORK IS REQUIRED?

In California, the spouse who is filing for divorce must fill out a financial disclosure statement form when filing the divorce papers or within sixty days of filing.

The other spouse must submit his or her disclosure statement with his or her response to the divorce papers – or within sixty days of that response. Let a good California divorce lawyer help you with this important document.

California requires spouses to disclose anything they own that has value. Penalties can be imposed on spouses who fail to disclose an asset or property. When both disclosures are filed, the assets and properties become the focus of negotiations between the two sides.

When divorcing spouses can agree about how their marital assets, properties, and debts should be divided, it will be substantially less costly and time-consuming than a legal dispute that ends with the court imposing a settlement that may please no one.

HOW DO SOME SPOUSES TRY TO HIDE ASSETS?

Spouses who are divorcing try to hide assets more often than you might think. Divorcing partners frequently overstate debts and expenses, understate their incomes, and hide, understate, or undervalue specific marital assets or properties.

criminal charges for perjury

California requires divorcing spouses to swear that they are truthfully disclosing all properties, assets, income, debts, and expenses. The failure to make truthful financial disclosures may be considered perjury in this state.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN TO A FINANCIALLY DISHONEST SPOUSE?

Judges have a great deal of discretion in these cases. A divorcing spouse in California who does not make honest financial disclosures could:

  • be compelled to pay for the other spouse’s lawyer fees
  • lose custody of the child or children
  • be sent to jail

Divorcing spouses in California have found some quite creative ways to conceal assets. Foreign banks are used commonly. Other divorcing spouses transfer assets to a friend or a relative. Some people even bury cash. If a spouse tries to hide something substantial, the penalty may be harsh.

For example, when Denise Rossi won the California Lottery in 1999, she told nobody, sought a divorce, and did not disclose the $1.3 million in lottery winnings. When her failure to disclose was discovered, the judge awarded the lottery winnings – every cent – to the husband.

IF YOUR PARTNER HIDES ASSETS, CAN YOU PROVE IT?

If your spouse provides inaccurate or incomplete financial disclosure forms, inform your divorce lawyer, who will launch an investigation. Your attorney should have experience uncovering hidden assets.

This is one of the reasons why you really cannot be your own divorce lawyer. You and your divorce attorney must find proof of dishonesty before you take the accusation to court.

financial investigator

In the most complicated divorces, your attorney may recommend hiring a financial investigator. Divorce attorneys today also use advanced software and other high-tech tools to help clients obtain what is theirs.

WHAT IF YOU HAVE A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT?

Spouses who hide assets are trying to keep more than their fair share – and they’re also trying to keep the other spouse from that spouse’s fair share. It is entirely illegal, yet it happens far too frequently here in California.

If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it dictates how assets and properties are divided. If that agreement is challenged, the court will ask if duress or fraud was involved when the document was signed or if either spouse failed to make a full financial disclosure at that time.

If you are considering a divorce in southern California, or if your spouse has you served with divorce papers, you must have trustworthy, skilled legal guidance, and you must have that guidance from the very beginning of the divorce process.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO A DIVORCE LAW FIRM IN CA?

Schedule a consultation with a Southern California divorce lawyer before you take any other step. An accomplished Orange County divorce attorney can discuss your rights in a divorce and will ensure that you are treated fairly at every stage of the process.

A business, a real estate holding, jewelry, art objects, and even a family pet may be the focus of a property dispute. Divorcing spouses must have the advice and guidance of an attorney who can ensure that every asset is properly identified and categorized as personal or as marital property.

divorce lawyer in orange county

Dividing the marital assets, properties, and debts can be the most difficult part of a divorce in California. Spouses can lose a lot in a contested divorce. You must be represented by an aggressive yet compassionate divorce attorney who can protect your key assets and holdings.

Your attorney can ensure that every asset is accurately appraised and that your interests are fully protected throughout the proceeding. If your divorce involves significant investments, real estate, or a business, you must be represented by an experienced Orange County divorce attorney.

Wail Sarieh
By Wail Sarieh