Helping Parties to Divorce Sort Out Fiduciary Duties
Once spouses decide to separate, they have important fiduciary duties and fiscal responsibilities to each other. Failure to observe those duties can result in significant financial sanctions imposed by the court. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you protect yourself from liability or evaluate your spouse's compliance.
At the Law Office of Cecil & Cianci, PC, we are familiar with the fiduciary duties that spouses have under California law, and we can help you understand your rights and responsibilities. Contact us to schedule a consultation with a skilled divorce attorney.
Complying With Fiduciary Duties to the Community
Under California community property law, until the division of property is finalized in a divorce or legal separation proceeding, the married couple is considered a "community," which in some ways resembles a business partnership.
Community property includes but is not limited to:
- Homes and other real property
- Stocks, bonds, trusts, gold and other investments
- Retirement funds and pensions
- Collections (art, classic cars, boats)
Just as a business partner owes certain fiduciary duties to the partnership as a whole (i.e., the other partners), each spouse owes fiduciary duties to the community (i.e., the other spouse).
In the context of divorce, the most important fiduciary duty is the duty to disclose all assets or liabilities, whether they are community property, quasi-community property or separate property. This duty includes a duty to notify the spouse promptly of any material changes to that information.
Understanding the Consequences of a Breach of Fiduciary Duty
The topic of fiduciary duty has recently become prominent in California due to the substantial sanction that was imposed in the highly publicized case of In Re Marriage of Feldman. In that case, the judge imposed significant sanctions on Mr. Feldman for failure to disclose assets fully. In light of that decision, it is very important for parties to a divorce to disclose their assets and liabilities accurately and to monitor their spouse's compliance.
Aggressive Pursuit of Your Family Law Goals
Even if the spouse discovers hidden or inadvertently undisclosed marital assets through some other means and is therefore not financially harmed by a breach of the fiduciary duty, a sanction can still be imposed. Don't hesitate to contact us to discuss the implications of fiduciary duty laws for your divorce.
Contact our Roseville law office to speak to an experienced lawyer about your legal options.