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Fiduciary Duties Of Spouses Before And After Divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2015 | Divorce

When we talk about the relationship of a husband and a wife, there are a few things that are worth noting. Marriage is one of the most sacred unions, and is highly regarded in society. When it comes to spouses, the both of them carry the highest duties towards each other known by law. These are called fiduciary duties. Fiduciary relations exist in between a husband and a wife in situations where:

  • Spouses enter into a transaction with each other
  • One or both of them manage a community property
  • One or both of them control a community property

Fiduciary Relations

When it comes to fiduciary relations, the most important aspect is always being able to practice good faith and fairness. In a fiduciary relation, being unfair to the other person is also strictly prohibited. The easiest way to understand a fiduciary relation is to compare it to a business situation; the spouses are required to act in the same way as business partners act while being under a contract.

When Fiduciary Duty Applies

Fiduciary duty applies on spouses only in situations where there is a matter related to separate or community property.

Duration Of Fiduciary Duties

When it comes to fiduciary duties, it often believed that they apply on the spouses only as long as they stay in the marriage. This, however, is a misconception. Fiduciary duty applies in situations after separation as much as it does during the marriage. Why does it apply even after a divorce? This is one question that is often asked by clients to Orange County divorce lawyers. The main reason for fiduciary duty applying even after marriage is because after the date of separation has passed, there is a process of dissolution in the marriage which means that all the property, at that particular time, needs to be safeguarded. It is only after the complete division of the assets has taken place, that the fiduciary relations between the spouses end completely. There are also cases where some assets aren’t completely divided between the two spouses, and are kept as joint assets or property for both. In such situations, the fiduciary duty continues to be applied on the spouses for as long as the property is being shared.