What Does It Mean to Breach Fiduciary Duty?

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Acting Against Your Spouse’s Financial Interests

When a couple is married, each spouse must act in their partner's best interests. This is known as fiduciary duty, and when it is breached by one or both parties, it can have serious implications in divorce proceedings.

In this blog, we will look at what constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty and how it affects divorce. We'll also discuss some strategies for avoiding such breaches so couples can protect themselves from potential legal issues.

Defining Fiduciary Duty

Fiduciary duty can be defined as acting responsibly and in the best interests of another party. Fiduciary duty is often connected to finances but can be applied in many other areas of a relationship. In a marriage, each spouse must act in each other’s best interests and avoid taking advantage of each other. Each spouse must be transparent regarding finances, assets, and debts.

Breaching Fiduciary Duty During Marriage and Divorce

There are many ways in which someone can breach their fiduciary duty during marriage or divorce. Some examples include:

  • Misappropriating funds or assets belonging to their partner;

  • Making decisions without considering the best interests of their partner;

  • Failing to disclose important information which could affect the other person's financial situation; and

  • Giving false promises about a future inheritance, gift, or property division.

When a breach of fiduciary duty is proven, it can have serious consequences in the divorce process. The offending party may be subject to financial penalties or court-ordered punitive damages.

Avoiding Breaches of Fiduciary Duty

It is important to be aware of your fiduciary duties as a married couple and to take steps to ensure that you are not breaching them. Some tips for avoiding breaches include:

  • Communicating openly and honestly with your partner about any significant financial decisions;

  • Checking legal documents, such as tax returns or loan applications, before signing them;

  • Keeping accurate records of all financial transactions; and

  • Consulting a lawyer if you have any questions or concerns about your rights and obligations.

Consult With a Family Law Attorney

Fiduciary duty plays a vital role in marriage, as it requires both parties to always act in one another's best interests. Breaches of fiduciary duty can have serious consequences in divorce proceedings, so couples need to be aware of their rights and obligations.

By communicating openly and honestly with one another, understanding the legal documents they sign, and seeking professional advice when necessary, couples can protect themselves from potential breaches of fiduciary duty during the divorce process. Be sure to speak to your family law attorney for additional guidance.
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