Picture this.

Your divorce is settled and done, and as you rebuild your life, you discover a horrifying secret—your ex-spouse hid significant assets from you during the divorce! You had a legal right to claim a portion of those assets, which could have changed your entire divorce agreement!

But the divorce is over and done. What do you do now?

It's not too late. California Family Code section 2556 provides a legal remedy, and the penalty to the spouse who hid the assets can be severe. 

What Exactly Are Hidden Assets?

Hidden or omitted assets are any assets your ex-spouse did not disclose to you or the court during your divorce. Even though thorough "due diligence" safeguards are in place to prevent the hiding of significant assets, it is still possible to deceive the court.

For example, your ex-spouse may have hidden money in an account overseas or safeguarded it with another person. In some cases, they may have used a shell company to hide money or created a secret trust. Other examples include intellectual property that was never disclosed.

How Omitted Assets Impact Your Divorce Agreement

A judge can only make a reasonable and equitable division of assets and liabilities if they have truthful information in the first place. The resulting division would be flawed if assets were left off the table during the divorce process.

The discrepancy could mean a significant improvement in your lifestyle post-divorce.

If Proven, Penalties For Hiding Assets In A Divorce Can Be Steep

To persuade the court that there were hidden assets, you must prove your case with evidence. Though it's possible you might persuade your ex-spouse to "come clean" and reveal the hidden assets and agree to a modification, it's my experience that is rarely the case.

You might have to hire a private investigator to look into areas that you feel are suspect. Another avenue might be bringing an expert witness who can attest to relevant information or documents.

If you prove that your ex failed to disclose assets during your divorce, the penalties to him/her can be stiff. For instance, the penalty for concealing a community property asset may be an award of 100% of its value to you, plus attorneys’ fees. 

Park Family Law Can Help

Do you suspect you were short-changed in your divorce agreement because your ex-spouse hid assets from you or the court? To help you obtain the best results, call the attorneys at Park Family Law.

Whether you need an experienced mediator to amicably and efficiently settle your case or an aggressive litigator to get you the best results in court, Park Family Law can assist you every step of the way.