Any community assets that were not included in the divorce are known as “omitted assets.” The Family Code provides a solution to the question. The outcome depends on whether your ex intentionally hid the money, or simply neglected to list it as part of the community.
Family Code §2556 states, “In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of marriage, or for legal separation of the parties, the court has continuing jurisdiction to award community estate assets or community estate liabilities to the parties that have not been previously adjudicated by a judgment in the proceeding.” Therefore, if your ex hid money during your divorce, the family court is able to address the issue.
Section 2556 goes on to say, “A party may file a postjudgment motion or order to show cause in the proceeding in order to obtain adjudication of any community estate asset or liability omitted or not adjudicated by the judgment. In these cases, the court shall equally divide the omitted or unadjudicated community estate asset or liability, unless the court finds upon good cause shown that the interests of justice require an unequal division of the asset or liability.”
The first step is to file an order to show cause (now known as a Request for Order) and request that the court divide the omitted asset. A hearing will then be set in order to determine how to divide the money. If the court finds that your ex intentionally hid the money, there is a strong argument that 100% of the money should be awarded to you. On the other handed, if your ex (or you) unintentionally omitted an asset, it will likely be equally divided. These situations are fact intensive and heavily depend on the underlying set of facts.
Kenneth T. Demmerle