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San Jose Divorce Attorney > Blog > Divorce > Your Fiduciary Duty Toward Your Spouse

Your Fiduciary Duty Toward Your Spouse


Many couples take a vow at their wedding to love each other for richer or for poorer, but finances are a major cause of discord even among couples who enjoy each other’s company and share similar values.  Having opinions about the best ways to spend or save money does not mean that you are materialistic.  Many people are more hurt by their spouses lying to them about money than they would be if their spouse had an extramarital affair.  Unless you get divorced, no one is right or wrong about whether you should borrow the biggest mortgage loan you can get approved for and buy a mansion you can hardly afford or whether you should live way below your means with the aim of giving your children the biggest possible financial cushion in the form of an inheritance.  If you file for divorce, though, your finances become the court’s business.  If your financial behavior during the marriage was such that you had to know that it was harming your spouse emotionally and financially, this can only count against you in your divorce case.  The court might impute income to you based on what you could earn if you had been more responsible with money during your marriage.  If your spouse squandered your nest egg and then dumped you, a San Jose divorce lawyer can help you come out of your divorce in a strong financial position.

Does Multilevel Marketing Count as Marital Misconduct?

In family law, marital misconduct refers to intentional actions by one spouse that diminish the value of the marital property.  It overlaps a lot with what the popular media call “financial cheating.”  Jen Glantz, who had no illusions about divorce when she got married, having previously worked as a professional bridesmaid, describes marital misconduct as a breach of the fiduciary duty that people owe their spouses.  In other words, mishandling assets that belong to you and your spouse is similar to, and just as bad as, misusing business assets that belong jointly to you and your business partners.  These are some common kinds of marital misconduct:

  • One spouse titles valuable assets in the names of his relatives or business partners so that the divorce court will not be able to access them or count them as marital assets.
  • One spouse gives large amounts of money to her relatives without her spouse’s knowledge or against her spouse’s wishes.
  • One spouse makes recklessly risky investments and business decisions.

It is the last of these where there is the most room for interpretation and disagreement.  Your spouse might insist his business venture failed through no fault of his own (who knew that January 2020 was a bad time to open a restaurant), but you disagree (he should have started with a food truck or market stall instead of a Cheesecake Factory-sized restaurant, especially after his three previous three restaurants failed).

Reach Out to Us Today for Assistance

If your spouse’s irresponsible business decisions sabotaged your marriage, a San Jose divorce lawyer can help you.  Contact Foster Hsu for more information.



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