On the playground, our relationships with one another are guided by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is where we learned to take turns with the jump rope, to push each other on the swings, and to jump off the slide when we reached the bottom to make room for the next kid.
In a marriage in California, however, we are held to an even higher standard than that of the Golden Rule: that of a fiduciary. Being a fiduciary to your spouse brings with it a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to act in good faith, to ensure fair dealing, and to avoid taking unfair advantage of the other. It is a heavy responsibility that impacts all elements of the relationship: the documents you keep, the information you share, and the choices you make.
In most cases, a rule like fiduciary duty only takes center stage when it has been broken. So what does a breach of fiduciary duty mean under California Family Law? Let’s take a closer look at when this duty applies, what it covers, and the penalties that exist under California law to hold spouses accountable to one another—both during the marriage and while separated.