Property Division in California Divorce
Dividing up the property you own with your spouse can be one of the most stressful aspects of divorce. Spouses in the midst of a contentious divorce may find themselves in a drawn-out fight over who gets to keep valued possessions such as the house or treasured artwork, or who should be forced to pay certain debts. Spouses may also end up in battles over whether certain property should be considered separate or marital, and even whether a spouse has intentionally dissolved marital assets. At Blasser Law, our skilled California divorce attorneys can ensure that your rights in a division of property are protected. Don’t try to fight these battles alone. Contact our Diamond Bar offices for a consultation today.
Separate property vs. marital property
Generally speaking, property acquired during a marriage will be considered marital property belonging to both spouses. Property will be considered separate when it was acquired by one spouse before a marriage, or if it comes from one of a narrow list of sources, such as an inheritance, or income from separate property (i.e., rent received on a property purchased before the marriage). Separate property will remain the property of that spouse, and marital property will be divided between spouses.
However, there are numerous exceptions to this rule. For example, some property acquired during the marriage may be purchased with money earned prior to the marriage, or a home purchased with separate property might be improved with marital assets. In these cases, determining whether property is separate or marital can involve complex tracing of funds, requiring the help of a forensic accountant and skilled California family law attorney. The more complex the case, the more you may have to lose by not investing in an attorney you can trust to represent you in your divorce.
The community property model
California is one of the few remaining community property states. This means that all property acquired by spouses during a marriage, which includes physical items such as houses or cars as well as money earned, should be divided equally between the couple when they divorce. This doesn’t mean that each asset must be divided equally, but rather that, after the total value of the marital estate (all marital property and debt) is determined, each spouse should end up receiving about half this amount. This could mean that one spouse may take a high-value piece of property along with the responsibility to pay a debt that the couple accrued during the marriage, and the other spouse might take a lower-value asset. Calculating the value of these assets isn’t always straightforward. Make sure that you receive your fair share of the value of the marital estate by seeking representation from knowledgeable, skilled Southern California divorce lawyers, and call Blasser Law for a consultation today.
Help is Available for Complex California Property Division Matters
For assistance with a divorce matter, property settlement agreement, or other family law issue, contact the Diamond Bar family law attorneys at Blasser Law for a consultation, at 909-843-6363.