It is important to understand that when people live together, whether or not they are married, a “confidential relationship” arises between them. For married persons this relationship arises from a legally recognized nature of matrimony. For unmarried persons, certain important legal obligations are present but may be of lesser value. Nonetheless, due to the trust and confidential nature of the relationship, duty of loyalty, care and disclosure in transactions will be imposed.
Spousal duties have evolved over the years but management and control of assets and disclosure of such assets are well established. Family Code 721 is the starting point. Subsection (b) states, “This confidential relationship is a fiduciary relationship subject to the same rights and duties as non-marital business partners…” as set forth in the Corporations Code. It imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, and neither shall take any unfair advantage of the other.”
Section 721 (b)(1) further entitles each spouse access to information about all things affecting any transaction which concerns the community property estate.” This duty arises by operation of law and no requests needs to be made of that status of property or assets. FC 2100 (c) makes this obligation clear that “each party has a continuing duty to immediately, fully, and accurately update and augment that disclosure to the extent there have been any material changes so that at the time the parties enter into an agreement for the resolution of any of these issues, or at the time of trial on these issues, each party will have a full and complete knowledge of the relevant underlying facts.”
- Published in Atty. Carina Castaneda