Property & Accounting
In California, property obtained during marriage is presumed to be “community property”. This means that both parties are generally entitled to an equal share of the community property assets, unless it is clearly stated in a written agreement that the item is “separate property.” Property that was purchased in another state is “quasi-community property” and for the purpose of dissolution is treated like community property.
Reimbursement is normally allowed for the education of one spouse where their earning capacity is enhanced. However, reimbursement is limited to ten years from the date of the training. Beyond this time, the community is presumed to have reaped the benefit, thus can no longer be reimbursed.
Child Support may be awarded in any amount that the court finds necessary.
Spousal Support may be awarded to either spouse for any time span for any amount of money. Support is based on the standard of living during the marriage. Various factors are considered by the court. The following is considered for support:
- Duration of marriage
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Earning capacity
- Comparing income and resources of the spouses
- Necessary time to obtain educational goals in order to attain gainful employment
- Health and age of spouses
- Obligation and needs of the spouses
- Contribution of services during marriage: childcare, homemaking, career-building
- Emotional and Physical condition of spouses
- Custodian of the child
(The court can also take into consideration any other factor it deems necessary and just.)
At times one spouse will falsely claim that their income is low and assets are less than what is accurate. Often times the financial statement submitted to the bank often depicts an entirely different picture. Sometimes it shows income and assets that were hidden from the other spouse. Due to the frequency of dishonestly between spouses it is necessary to conduct a deeper analysis in order to find out what the truth is.
Commonly, under reporting of income and assets happens when dealing with a spouse that controls a closely held business. Majority of the time, recurring patterns of under reporting fall into two classifications: Sham Transactions, and Questionable Investments.
- SHAM TRANSACTIONS
This may involve but are not limited to: sudden increases in the cost of supplies, a decrease in income, delaying income until after dissolution, cash transactions that are not reported, inter-family and self-dealing, appearance of new customers or suppliers, hidden or new bank accounts, and debt write-offs that are fraudulent.
- QUESTIONABLE INVESTMENTS
Examples may consist of, but are not limited to: automobile write-offs, abuses of petty cash or inventory, big one-time purchase writeoffs, owner salary levels that are unreasonable, writing personal expenses off as business expenses, or investments that cause a business to decline temporarily.
- ACCOUNTANT’S ROLE
When honesty of a spouse is at issue, it is important that the accountant and attorney work together from the start of the case. The process of uncovering the assets and income of the dishonest spouse requires a high level of competence and experience. This is because the data required to uncover the discrepancies may be more then the amount of information that is regularly obtained in the California mandatory disclosure declarations.
Contact us today!