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Helping You Find and Protect Community Assets in a California Divorce

Women who feel their spouse is hiding assets-2

Unfortunately, there are many women who are utterly convinced their spouse is spouse is hiding assets during a California divorce. Despite the strong laws prohibiting such antics, it is not unusual for a divorcing spouse to secret away assets, nefariously transfer funds, close accounts and open new ones, liquidate investment accounts, or spend down accounts. If you’re divorcing, it is important to educate yourself and consult with an experienced and knowledgeable Santa Barbara family law attorney to help discover and protect against fraud and fight for the settlement you deserve.

"Red Flag" Warnings that Your Spouse May be Hiding Assets

You may have good reason to be suspicious if your spouse:

  • Maintains complete control of bank account information and online passwords.
  • Is secretive about financial affairs.
  • Owns a P.O. box or private mail drop box, which receives account statements and bills.
  • Has meaningful unreimbursed business account expenses.
  • Deletes one or more personal financial programs, Quicken or Quickbooks.
  • Says the computer containing important financial records has mysteriously “crashed.” Then, he/she removes the hard drive for a data retrieval attempt, and it’s never to be seen again.
  • Acts pushy when obtaining signatures on important documents, like tax returns and deeds. “I need to get this to our accountant today,” he/she insists.
  • Proposes an execution of mutual durable power of attorneys for “estate planning” purposes.
  • Enjoys out-of-town business junkets with his/her new slippery financial advisor.
  • Develops SIDS (Sudden Income Deficit Syndrome). “My business is failing” suddenly crops up.
  • Suffers an income decrease without a corresponding reduction of expenses.
  • Binges on unusual purchases of flashy items, such as a car and jewelry.
  • Reports a dramatic decrease in value of marital and/or business investments.
  • Owns multiple cell phones or numbers over a relatively short period of time.
  • Makes frequent trips to countries with relaxed banking laws.
  • Exhibits childish greed and claims of entitlement.
  • Makes unusual purchases of toys or art that could be sold later.
  • Starts drawing on large amounts of debt.
  • Is involved in drug abuse.
  • Gambles more frequently than usual and is placing money “on account” with casinos.
  • Opens multiple business or personal bank accounts without obvious reasons for having that many.

A spouse who hides assets usually has very specific, predictable objectives. In general terms, his/her goals are to:

  1. Hide, understate, or undervalue certain assets;
  2. Overstate debts;
  3. Report lower than actual revenue; and/or
  4. Report higher than actual expenses.

In the face of such improper and unlawful antics, every prospective family law litigant should know that in every California divorce, if your spouse fails to comply with ATRO (“Automatic Temporary Restraining Order”) or fails to fully disclose all assets or liabilities, whether they are community property, quasi-community property or separate property during litigation, and it is proven in court, he or she can be severely sanctioned by the court.

In light of this threat, it is very important for parties to a divorce to disclose their assets and liabilities accurately and to monitor their spouse's compliance.  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 her/her fiduciary duty, a sanction can still be imposed.

Aggressive Representation to Protect Your Interests in a California Divorce

Women who feel their spouse is hiding assets-1

At the Law Office of Channe G. Coles, we believe the best approach is to move quickly, decisively and strategically to obtain complete disclosure of all financials early on and without reliance on the other party’s compliance. This is our ‘focused’ to family law discovery. We incorporate a highly targeted and proactive strategy to find and discover any and all hidden income or assets which the opposing spouse may be concealing. It is our belief that the sooner this targeted strategy is initiated, the better it is for our clients, and the higher the probability of finding the money and ensuring an equal and fair division.

The moral is, just because you didn’t know during the marriage, doesn’t mean we can’t find out. And California is replete with ample tools for searching and compelling the other side to show their cards. If they don’t, they can and likely will face severe sanctions, both monetary and evidentiary.

At my first consultation and during my initial full case review, I will develop a comprehensive strategy for acting quickly to secure full disclosure of the community estate; getting you the answers you need to feel secure and confident during the divorce process.

Call Today for a Free Consultation