Is Your Ex-Spouse Hiding Assets Before Divorce?

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Hidden Community Property Assets

California is a community property state, which means many marital assets are to be divided 50-50 between the divorcing couple. Unfortunately, some husbands or wives can be selfish. When a divorce is impending, your estranged spouse may go on a mission to start hiding assets to keep for themselves.

Devious Ways Ex's Try to Hide Assets

Hidden Assets in Bank Accounts

When divorce discussions begin, a nervous estranged spouse may try to illegally hide money these ways:

  • They may furtively make small cash withdrawals little by little from the joint bank account.
  • They might give it to a trusted friend to hold for them until after the divorce is final.
  • Some sly spouses will open an individual bank account and fund it with your joint savings or their salary that was earned during the marriage. Fortunately, the individual bank account does not create a presumption of separate funds in California. The CA Family Court can trace the funds back to the time of the marriage and consider it joint assets. It can be helpful to engage a California divorce lawyer to prove to the court the money belongs to both parties.

Unauthorized Sales of Community Property

Even if an estranged husband or wife took title to an automobile or house in their own name, if the car payments or mortgage was paid with either spouse’s salary during the period of the marriage, the property would belong to both persons. Therefore, if a spouse sells a car or a piece of real property that was in their own name without the permission of their estranged husband or wife, there can be recourse.

Under California law, the sale of individually titled property that was done secretly behind one spouse’s back can be set aside by the court if the covert sale is discovered in enough time. However, most divorcing couples are unaware of this rule. Therefore, it is prudent to retain a CA dissolution attorney to handle such issues.

Giving Away Community Property Assets as Gifts

Some unfaithful spouses may try to temporarily gift away their assets so they can enjoy their belongings after the marriage. For example, a straying spouse may purchase an expensive car with marital funds and then put the title and registration in their lover’s name. 

Although California law allows spouses to have equal management and control of their earnings and savings, one partner is not allowed to gift away large items without consulting the other partner. Just as unauthorized sales can be set aside by the California court, so too might a large gift.

Ask for Help from a California Family Law Attorney

Divorce can be stressful enough without having to worry about your ex’s clandestine activities. You may not be aware of all of the rules regarding divorces in California, so you probably should not handle such matters on your own.

Call a local California divorce attorney to discuss the ending of your marriage. You can share with the CA family lawyer any suspicions that you have about hidden assets.


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