Fraud in Divorce Settlements

Hossein Berenji, Aug 08, 2015

We know the story all too well: Together you and your spouse build a company from the bottom up. The company is making a considerable amount of money.

Later, after all of the blood, sweat, and tears, you realize that you and your spouse are no longer in sync. One of you requests a divorce and during the preliminary hearings, you disclose your assets and liabilities to one another. The divorce is finalized and you receive your share of the divorce settlement. However, you later realize that the company you both built together is worth considerably more than what you have settled for. What do you do now if you realize there was fraud on the part of your ex-spouse? If you suspect fraud, call Hossein Berenji at his Los Angeles office today for a free case evaluation.

The Alison Sharland Case

The above story is basically what happened to UK’s Alison Sharland. Alison thought that she was receiving half of her husband’s fortune in their divorce case. However, she realized that her husband’s company was worth a lot more than was disclosed. In Alison’s case, her husband had not given the court accurate information about his finances and had hid necessary facts pertaining to his business.

Opening floodgates, Alison asked for her case to be reheard alleging that she has been shortchanged and denied justice and should receive a significantly larger payout. The Supreme Court in the UK is now reexamining her issue. As of now, thousands of ex-partners and spouses are attempting to renegotiate divorce settlements. One thing that is certain: if it is happening in the UK it is definitely happening here in the United States. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, three in ten Americans admit to financial deception with partners. That is 58% that truthfully state that they have hid cash from their partners or spouse.

Fraudulent Divorce Settlements in California

Under California’s laws, it is a requirement to disclose all assets in anticipation of divorce. However, parties do not always comply with this requirement. There are several ways in which assets may not be disclosed. Assets may not be disclosed by:

  • Not valuing marital property correctly
  • Overstating debt
  • Reporting a lower income
  • Reporting higher expenses

However, the question becomes whether the nondisclosure is a mistake or intentional.

From the date of separation to the distribution of the assets, Family Code Section 2100-2113 advises that each party must accurately and completely disclose of all assets and liabilities, investment opportunities, or other income-producing opportunities. Each party must serve a preliminary and final declaration of disclosure under Family Code Section 2104 and 2105. If either party is untruthful about their assets and/or liabilities, the judge can set aside an entire judgment or part of a judgment as well as impose monetary fees and sanctions.

What to Do Now

If you have found yourself in a situation where you believe that fraud existed in your divorce settlement, please do not hesitate to contact Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers to assist you. Speaking with and obtaining an experienced family law attorney is invaluable during this process and we are here to fight for you!

Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers
9465 Wilshire Blvd #333
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 271-6290