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Most divorce cases are accompanied by a variety of emotions: sadness, anger, grief, frustration, embarrassment, and relief. One emotion neither party to a divorce should experience is the feeling that they got away with something. You can and should celebrate settlements that you feel good about (or the mere fact of settlement at all), but neither you nor your ex should feel satisfaction at pulling the wool over each other’s eyes. In California, especially, hiding assets from your partner so as to avoid a fair settlement is particularly frowned upon.

Let’s take a look at why hidden (or omitted) assets are so bad and what you should do if you discover after a divorce that your ex hid assets from you.

You’re Required to Make A Full and Accurate Disclosure

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In many respects, the outcome of a divorce can feel entirely out of your control. You can’t make your ex be reasonable, agreeable, transparent—any of the qualities that would help make separation easier. You also can’t avoid the anger, sadness, depression and other emotions that accompany the end of a significant relationship. 

But what you can do is understand your rights, select the best partners and experts to support you on this journey, and weigh your options carefully in pursuing a resolution that gives you the best psychological, economic, social, and familial outcomes possible. 

Practice Self Care

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Navigating a high-asset divorce can often feel like wandering through a rich and well-stocked bookshop. No matter who you talk to or which book you pull off the shelf, you get another piece of advice, some of which seems to contradict what you heard or read before. Short of reading every volume or talking to every divorce attorney, it can be hard to know when you’ve addressed the issues most important to you and your particular situation.

But knowledge is power, and when it’s time for you and your spouse to go your separate ways, it can save a lot of time, money, and headache to reflect on these six elements of a divorce and how they impact wealthy families.

Child Custody: Strive for Honesty and Flexibility

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We’re lawyers. We have to start a blog post answering whether you have to pay income tax on alimony with a caveat. So, for the record, the answer is complicated and may change at any time. Thank you for your patience. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at why it is so complicated, and how you can know, right now, whether you will have to pay income tax on alimony (known as spousal support in California) payments.

Before we begin, you may want to open a second link to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a piece of legislation that went into effect in 2018 (and really affected divorcing couples starting in 2019). Not interested in reading the fine print of federal legislation? We do not blame you, but that is exactly why this question, “Do you have to pay income tax on alimony?” gets so complicated.

A Shifting Federal Tax Landscape

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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.

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If you are in the process of going through a divorce, you probably have a million questions running through your head. Some of these are practical, like who will keep the dining room set and where you filed all those important papers so long ago. Others are emotional, like how best to tell your friends, family, and co-workers and if this should have happened sooner or not at all. And some are financial, like whether you will be paying or receiving some money to help your partner or yourself live like you used to. 

One question you should not have to puzzle for long is what to call it: spousal support vs. alimony. Simply put: spousal support is the California legal system’s term for alimony. But how did we get here, and what does it really mean for you? Let’s take a look at its history, how it works in California, and what else you may need to know during this complicated time of life.

A Quick History of Spousal Support

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