How Do I Protect My Assets in a California Divorce?
If you are considering a divorce in California and are concerned about the division of assets, it is imperative to understand property laws and the exceptions that apply. Protecting your assets is essential before entering a legal agreement such as a marriage. But there are ways to protect assets after a marriage has taken place.
California’s View on Property
California is considered a community property state, implying that both partners own any property acquired during the marriage. But there are some exceptions to this law.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Before marrying, couples may opt to sign prenuptial agreements to protect certain assets owned before marriage. This contract specifies what assets are assigned to each partner should a divorce occur.
After marrying, a couple may create a postnuptial agreement to protect marital assets. Postnuptial agreements can waive community property rights to certain assets, changing the asset to separate property or vice versa. A couple may decide to commute separate property to community property.
Other Protected Assets in a Marriage
Inheritances or personal gifts that a partner receives during a marriage are considered separate property. When these funds are used to purchase a property, this asset may still be regarded as separate. However, proving where the funds to buy the property originated from is essential, and record keeping is vital when the commingling of funds may exist.
A significant source of conflict in marriages originates from how money is managed. The same rule applies to assets in a divorce. Dividing property in California during a divorce can be complex. Working with a Solana Beach high asset and complex divorce attorney ensures your property division is managed appropriately.
Hiding Assets in a California Divorce
It is imperative to work within the law’s guidelines concerning the division of assets in California. It is never recommended to minimize the value of assets or embellish expenses. Working with a Solana Beach divorce attorney is the first step toward finding help to prove allegations if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets.
Other professionals, such as investigators and forensic accountants, may be retained to uncover the hiding of assets. This deception can carry heavy penalties for the partner found guilty of hiding assets, including:
- Charges of perjury with up to four years in jail
- The awarding of the hidden asset to the other spouse
- Restitution of legal fees incurred by the other spouse
- Charges of fraud
Transparency in the division of assets is essential.
Maintaining Protection of Assets in a California Divorce
Even with almost half of marriages ending in divorce, couples may shy away from prenuptial agreements feeling they diminish the solidity of a relationship, but this is untrue. Going into a marriage in California, understanding how property is defined before and after marriage is critical to protecting assets. Talking openly with your partner about pre- and postnuptial agreements is the first step in protecting those assets beneficial to your success as an individual should the marriage dissolve.
Working with an experienced Solana Beach prenuptial agreement attorney will ensure you enter marriage with a well-crafted document that protects your most vital assets.
Protect Your Assets in a California Divorce
Protecting your assets is insurance for your future if a marriage ends in divorce. Ratzer|Dobis is your dedicated Solana Beach family attorney providing essential guidance in navigating the division of assets. Begin with a free consultation and allow us to compassionately but expertly guide you in protecting your assets in a California divorce.