The Importance of Asking

Under California Family Law, it is a mandatory obligation of parties in a divorce action to formally “disclose” to each other all information about their respective assets, debts, income and expenses.  Failure to do so can cause significant financial consequences to the party failing to disclose.  But if there is at least some disclosure, these penalties may not apply.  In the recent case, In re Marriage of Georgiou and Leslie, Husband disclosed the nature of the community asset, but concealed its true value.  The parties reached an agreement based in part on Husband’s representation of the asset’s value.  Over a year later, Wife learned that the value of the asset had been substantially understated.  But rather than immediately pursue her remedies to have the asset divided more equitably, she waited.  In fact, she waited for over two years.  Had she sought legal counsel at the time, she would have learned that she only had a limited time to fix the situation.  Waiting over two years was too long, and she missed out on about $1.5 million as her rightful share of the community asset.  Lesson learned: Ask, Ask, Ask, and do so as soon as possible.