One of the biggest motivators of high conflict divorce is money. Another is revenge. These play a huge role in influencing the way high asset divorces materialize. What happens is this: a spouse may try to hide assets or, alternatively, waste assets. Hiding assets is particularly a contentious matter in high conflict divorces. As it is, California is a community property state, which means property acquired during marriage by either spouse is presumed to be the property of both spouses equally. It is common for spouses, especially when they know their marriage is on the rocks, may try to secretly start moving money and other assets to hide them. It may be also that even at the start of a happy marriage, one spouse hid money. Whatever it is, any property acquired during the marriage is to be, in theory, split equally, and that includes hidden assets.
It takes real skill and time to locate hidden assets. That’s why, if you are divorcing and suspect hidden assets, you want someone with experience to help.
Spouses have a fiduciary duty to each other. Wasting marital property, also known as wasteful dissipation, happens under two situations. Situations where this happens include but is not limited to:
- A cheating spouse spending money on the affair
- An addicted spouse spending money on drugs or gambling
- A spiteful spouse selling off property, damaging property, or excessively spending money
- A spiteful spouse selling a business for less than its worth and/or in haste
- A spiteful spouse gifting large sums of money to family and friends
The above wasteful acts are committed for the primary reason to deny the other spouse those assets.
The Key Takeaway on High Assets and High Conflict Divorces in California
High asset divorces are not always high conflict divorces. While high asset divorces can involve complex financial issues that may be more difficult to resolve than in a typical divorce, it is possible for the parties to work together to come to a fair agreement.
High asset divorces, however, are more prone to becoming high conflict divorces due to the financial stakes involved. Disputes over assets, property division, and spousal support can be more intense when there is a significant amount of money and property at stake. In some cases, one or both parties may be unwilling to compromise or may attempt to hide assets in order to gain an advantage in the divorce.
In such cases, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights and interests during a high stakes divorce in California.