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Property Division in California

Divorce & Property Division in Irvine

In a divorce, it will be necessary to divide property, assets, and debt. This task can be daunting, and the consequences of a mistake can be devastating. Considering the high stakes of any divorce, particularly the financial implications of property and debt distribution, it is important to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side to properly present your case and protect your interests.

Even a seemingly simple divorce for a middle-class family may involve a home, vehicles, bank accounts, and a considerable amount of debt to address. In high net worth divorces, the stakes are even higher and the proceedings more complicated, as investment accounts, real property, and business ownership may be involved. From complex high asset divorces to traditional divorce proceedings, our attorneys at Sullivan Law & Associates are skilled and ready to help.

With decades of experience and a commitment to quality counsel, our divorce lawyers are ready to assist you. Call our firm at (949) 565-2793 to get started.

Community vs. Separate Property in an Orange County Divorce

Because California is an equitable distribution state when it comes to property, debt, and assets, these will be fairly distributed amongst divorcing spouses. It will be necessary to determine what is classified as community property and what is classified as separate property, as only community property will be subject to distribution.

Here is a quick overview of community versus separate property:

  • Community property may include everything that spouses own together, including all property that was purchased or obtained during the marriage. This may include the family home and other real estate, furniture, jewelry, bank accounts, cars, etc.
  • Separate property includes anything each spouse owned before the marriage. It also includes inheritances or gifts received by a spouse, even if they were received during the marriage. 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. 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 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 Distribution Counsel

Richard Sullivan, our founder and principal attorney, has been practicing law in Orange County since 1978. He has tried over 15,000 cases and has seen it all. He leads our team of experienced divorce lawyers to litigate and negotiate for fair property and debt distribution in our clients’ divorces. With our intelligent representation and commitment to understanding and addressing our clients’ immediate and long-term financial goals, we can provide effective counsel in these matters.

Contact Sullivan Law & Associates at (949) 565-2793 to learn more about your property rights in your divorce.

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