California is a community property state, which means that marital assets are divided in half for divorces. This has lead to many concerns for separating couples, including one woman who is divorcing her husband of 25 years. Her husband has insisted that he is going to get both the home and half of her 401(k). The woman, who has been the main breadwinner for a decade, feels that this is unfair. She also believes that her husband is concealing assets.
It is likely that the woman will have to give up half her 401(k) in the divorce since assets acquired after marriage are considered the property of both people. However, the house will probably be split between the two.
There are several things the woman could do to address her husband’s behavior. A fight about sharing the financial information could be costly, but it might be possible to have an attorney send a letter requesting that the sharing stop, and this could be sufficient. All communications should be documented. A person might also want to note information about mail arriving from any financial institutions if there is a possibility of asset concealment. Hiding assets is not permitted. Finally, people may want to look into whether they are eligible for Social Security based on the earnings of a former spouse.
A high-asset divorce may mean a complex process of property division, but it still could be possible for a couple to negotiate an agreement outside of court. However, in a divorce like the one described above, litigation may be the right solution. This can take the outcome out of the hands of the couple, but it might also ensure a fair division of property.