No two marriages are identical and when it comes to money and assets; some couples are out in the open about everything, while other couples, or more specifically, certain spouses are more like Fort Knox when it comes to exactly what they earn, how they spend it, and where it's stashed.
Sounds somewhat odd, but in the grand scheme of things, it happens in more marriages than we'd like to admit. Does your spouse own their own business? Are they independent contractors? Do they have all of their financial statements mailed to their office or a PO box?
If you're one of those husbands or wives who are "in the dark" about your spouse's finances and don't really know how much they earn, or for that matter, where it all goes, you're not alone. If the prospect of getting a divorce and dividing the "mysterious" assets seems daunting, it doesn't have to be.
Not only do you have legal rights, but there are ways to get all of the financial information out of your spouse, even if they seem to have gone great lengths to hide all of the details from you.
How can I get the information from my spouse?
We have good news: There are several legal procedures that your spouse per law, must comply with. For instance, we may take depositions with your spouse and witnesses under oath, or we may submit an Inspection Demand, which requests that your spouse turns over certain important documents.
In order to gather information from others, such as your spouse's employer, we may have to subpoena them to appear with documents at an attorney's office, or in court.
Or, if you are comfortable, you can rely on the disclosure declarations that are filled out by you and your spouse separately; these are required and must be completed in order to dissolve the marriage.
What You're Entitled To
If your spouse has said that he or she will leave you penniless, or that they won't give you a dime of alimony, know that these are idle threats. Unless you sign off on a divorce settlement, they cannot decide on such issues without your agreement; only a family law judge can decide.
California is a "community property" state, which means that you are entitled to half of the community property (including cash, business interests, and real estate) acquired during the marriage, regardless of who earned it – just remember that.
Seeking a divorce? Contact an Encino divorce lawyer from Cutter & Lax today!