Hiding assets is often a problem in a divorce.  When a marriage begins to break apart people all react differently.  If you have a partner that has a “Cluster B” personality disorder, such as narcissistic personality disorder, and they are in control of the assets, it is almost a foregone conclusion that they are going to hide money and assets and attempt to circumvent the process.  If you are planning on divorcing a narcissist, beware!  Unless your plan is carefully executed, you will be caught in the grip of a spouse who views anything you do as an attack and negotiation as simply another venue to manipulate, and in the family court, such people have a distinct advantage.  Although you may believe honesty is the best policy, (as I do) it often does not help, and can hurt your future.  Courts make decisions based upon appearances more than a careful review of the documentation.  That assumes you are astute enough to gather the documentation and know what is important.

That being said, there is good news to be found in the informal provisions of the family code.  Under Family Code Sections 1100, 1101, 2100, 2106, 2107, 721 your spouse has an affirmative duty to be forthcoming about assets and income.  That means they MUST provide you the information about any community property asset and you do not need to ask.  Failure to do so allows, and in some instances requires, the court to punish the wrongdoer.  The king of all family law sanctions devices, Family Code 271, allows the court to punish the party who is attempting to circumvent the process.

The Feldman case

[In Re Marriage of Feldman (2007) 153 Cal.App.4th 1470, 64 Cal.Rptr.3d 29] involved a husband who failed to disclose to his wife the existence of assets and income. He demonstrated a pattern of non-disclosure, showing he had no intention of complying with the disclosure rules, thus warranting sanctions.  Feldman is the seminal case on this statute

The court ordered him to pay the wife financial sanctions and fees in the amount of $390,000.

Of particular significance was the fact that the sanctions were not ordered pursuant to the California Code of Civil Procedure but rather under the fiduciary duty related Family Law Code sections (Family Code §§271, 2107).

“The trial court agreed… that the nondisclosure of the Israeli bond was part of a “clear pattern that [Aaron] has no intentions of complying with the policy … that this information is to be shared from the very beginning.” The trial court also found that Aaron’s conduct was intentional, that he was “trying to circumvent the process, hide the ball,” and it stated that “[g]o fish, you figure it out, is not acceptable.””