Can I Recover Money Spent By My Spouse During Marriage?

The general answer to that question is no, but with a fairly significant exception. If one party to a marriage is simply a spendthrift, spending more money than the other, even without consent, that debt is still community debt and money used is simply spent.

However, California Family Code Section 1100 provides that “A spouse has a claim against the other spouse for any breach of fiduciary duty that results in impairment to the claimant spouse’s present undivided one-half interest in the community estate, including, but not limited to, a single transaction or a pattern or series of transactions, which transaction or transactions have caused or will cause a detrimental impact to the claimant spouse’s undivided one-half interest in the community estate.”

What this means is that if one party is acting against the other party’s interest during the marriage, the court can undo the effects of those actions.

If one spouse is found to have been acting against the other’s interest, the judge has the options of remedies, including award 50% of the value lost to the damaged spouse, and ordering attorney’s fees and costs.

In actions under this section, what was actually done with property, funds, or items purchased will have a big effect on whether or not a breach of the fiduciary duty occurred.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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