How are Assets and Property Divided in California?

How are Assets and Property Divided in California?

If you and your spouse are in the midst of getting a divorce, one of the issues you will encounter involves dividing your marital assets and property. California is a community property state, which means that any property or assets that were acquired throughout the duration of your marriage will be equally divided between the two of you in the divorce. While an equal division of marital property sounds straightforward, for some, this process can be a little tricky, especially if there is some debate as to whether or not an item is considered marital or separate.

What is the Difference Between Separate Property and Community Property?

Community property is defined as any asset or property a married couple obtains throughout the marriage. Therefore, any property either party accumulated prior to the marriage belongs to that party and will not end up on the chopping block when the time comes to divide property and assets. Additionally, items that were obtained with separate property or earnings made on separate property would also likely be considered separate property.

In California, assets and property obtained after the date of separation, but before the divorce, is separate property. This is less black and white since, oftentimes, the date of separation might not be when a spouse moves out, but rather when he or she chooses to dissolve the marriage. To make matters more complicated, in a marriage, assets are often combined. For example, if a spouse has a bank account prior to the marriage and, after saying, “I do,” the other spouse begins making deposits into that account, it can potentially become marital property.

If you and your spouse have items, such as artwork or antiques, you will have to assign these items a value before you begin the process of division. This can be a difficult process if the two of you are unable to see eye-to-eye on them and typically require the assistance of an appraiser.

Dividing Your Assets and Property

Spouses do not necessarily have to leave the process of asset and property division up to a judge. If you and your spouse are able to agree on which assets or property you are willing to give up or would like to keep, this can save you both some time and money. You can also opt to hold onto property together if you are hoping for it to increase in value, or if you share children and would like them to be raised in it in order to avoid having to uproot them from their childhood home.

Ultimately, whichever route you choose, it is crucial that you hire an experienced divorce attorney to ensure you do not make any decisions that are not in your interests. A skilled attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action and help you discern which property and assets are marital and which are separate, so you can avoid giving up property that was never meant to be divided.

Experienced Property Division Attorneys in Irvine

If you and your spouse are no longer able to continue to make your marriage work, you have likely begun the process of divorce and are now in need of a skilled family law attorney. At Sullivan Law & Associates in Irvine, our skilled team of family law attorneys are dedicated to helping clients navigate this complex process while protecting their interests. The division of property and assets is often a difficult step, particularly in high net worth divorces where businesses and investment accounts might be involved.

Obtain the help you deserve today and contact our law office at (949) 565-2793 to schedule a case review with one of our compassionate attorneys and learn more about how we can assist you.

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