A fiduciary duty is a legal relationship between at least two parties. The "fiduciary" is the party the duty is imposed on. The "principal" is the party that is owed the duty.
A fiduciary duty requires the fiduciary to act with all of the following:
- the highest standard of care
- he highest order of good faith and fair dealing
- show loyalty
- serve the principal’s best interests
- avoid conflicts of interest
The fiduciary duty between husband and wife allows both spouses full management and control of community property. Each spouse must make full disclosure of all material facts and information within their knowledge regarding the existence, characterization, and valuation of community assets and debts. Additionally, each spouse has equal access to the information, records, and books that pertain to the value or character of community assets or debts.
A spouse may recover damages if the breach of fiduciary duty impaired their interest in the marital property. This occurs most often in the course of property settlement negotiations during a divorce proceeding where one spouse conceals community assets or does not disclose information regarding the valuation of an asset. The breach may be a single occurrence or taken place over many transactions.
If you suffered damages because your spouse failed to disclose information regarding community assets, you should contact an attorney. Proving breach of fiduciary duty can be difficult, but a divorce lawyer can help.