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Compel Information from an Uncooperative or Secretive Spouse During a Divorce

On Behalf of | May 20, 2020 | Divorce

Is it possible to compel information from an uncooperative or secretive spouse during a divorce?  Do you believe your former spouse isn’t being forthright about assets or liabilities? Do you think they might be trying to hide money or misrepresenting the value of their business or professional practice? What should you do?

The information provided in the preliminary financial disclosures is often the basis for establishing temporary child support and spousal support orders as well as the division of community property. Business ownership interests must be accurately valued so that the community interest in the business can be appropriately divided.

The experienced Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq have decades of experience in San Diego area divorce cases and trials. Our attorneys are skilled advocates who protect the interests of our clients while seeking to compel information from an uncooperative or secretive spouse.

Your former spouse has a “fiduciary duty” to provide complete, accurate and timely disclosures as part of the initial orders issued by the Family Court in a divorce. This means they must act according to the highest standards of “fair dealings” and “good faith” and act in accordance with your best interests in all financial matters and transactions. This includes the care of community property, separate assets and any transaction between you and your former spouse or between your former spouse and another party.

As skilled trial attorneys we have several tools to help get to the bottom when a former spouse attempts to hide money or assets, under-reports income or liabilities or is simply belligerent or uncooperative. Interrogatories is basically a legal term for “focused questions.” The first step is to submit interrogatories to the opposing party and their counsel.

We have the right to demand inspection of important information in the former spouse’s possession. California law provides the power to compel them to provide “tangible things and electronically stored data” in their possession or control for “inspection, copying, testing or sampling.”

This can be backed up by subpeonas which compel non-associated parties of the divorce proceedings (such as financial institutions or businesses) to provide relevant information and evidence.

Depositions are a formal process for interviewing a witness such as your former spouse to capture their responses to questions and gather additional evidence.

Forensic accounting is a valuable and useful tool for tracking down hidden bank accounts, investments, assets, and other unreported information.

Sometimes one must compel information from an uncooperative or secretive spouse during a divorce.  If your former spouse is not forthcoming a “motion to compel” can serve to force the other party to comply when “reasonable and good faith attempts at an informal resolution” have not been fruitful.

This is why it is so important to have the representation of the experienced and proven divorce and family law attorneys at Burke & Domercq. We invite you to review the recommendations of our clients and contact us or call (760) 434-3330 to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.

Learn how our experienced team can protect you from a former spouse who is not fully, accurately and forthrightly disclosing financial information, assets and liabilities.