Santa Cruz Family Law Attorney

Honesty about Property during a Divorce

This is probably something most people going through divorces would never consider, but it does come up. Failing to disclose assets can have a disastrous effect. The courts may even go as far as ordering all assets hidden be awarded to the other spouse. I would urge anybody going through a divorce to be open and honest about property. I have seen bad situations where one spouse clears out accounts and hides money. This accomplishes absolutely nothing and only creates more fighting and the court will find out everything.

I was faced with an interesting question on this topic. I am very happy the person was confident enough to ask about so we could work through his problem in a legal manner. He had inherited a piece of property that had significant value and he planned on not disclosing it during the divorce. He felt it was his and his wife was not entitled to it.

He was right but did not know it. Items you inherit are your separate property and do not need to be divided during a divorce. His feelings were justified and he was right that she was not entitled to half. However if he would have just went though with his first intention to hide the asset it would have likely led to fighting and created a lot of difficulty for him.

Remember that the divorce process is meant to be fair. If you have a genuine issue with something, it is best to let it come out and find a fair determination. Often your concerns and feelings are correct and there is a mechanism in the legal system to protect your rights. An honest and straight forward approach may likely lead to the same outcome and reduce animosity instead of create more.

DISCLAIMER: This article is meant only to provide information and is not intended as legal advice. If you have questions concerning your particular case you should make an appointment to talk to an attorney or mediator about your options. I would love to hear what other estate planning or familily law issues you find important.

by Keith Dysart, Santa Cruz Family Law Attorney and Mediator

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