Dividing Property In California During A Divorce

One of the many issues to work through in a divorce is the division of property. In the state of California, property division is based on the concept of community property. Community property includes anything the couple acquired during the marriage. However, if you can prove it, property acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance is your separate property. Your goal is to leave your marriage with 50% of the community property and 100% of your separate property. Legal representation throughout this asset division process is critical to protecting your rights throughout the divorce.

At Ratzer|Dobis, we have the knowledge and experience to handle your high net worth, complex property division issues. We are a well-established firm that works smartly to get quick results for our clients. We will work with you to reach the resolution you need — whether that is through a mediated agreement or courtroom litigation, our team has a strong background in holding its ground in getting our clients what they need.

Things to Consider When Dividing Property

Property division can get complicated, especially when the estate is substantial. There are things you may not have even considered as being part of your property. Not only does community property include all physical items such as homes, furniture, clothing and vehicles, it also refers to anything of value. This can include:

  • Cash and bank accounts
  • Stocks, pension plans and 401Ks
  • Life insurance plans
  • Any businesses or companies
  • Professional licenses

While California law states that community property must be divided 50-50, not everything in the marriage may be community property. There could also be issues surrounding business ownership, real estate in or outside of the state of California and other complex issues. A Solana Beach property division lawyer from Ratzer|Dobis can help you navigate these issues and fight for the best possible outcome.

How Do Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements Affect Property Division?

There may be times when prenuptial agreements are made before marriage is entered into. There may also be times when similar agreements are made after a marriage has already begun, commonly called postnuptial agreements. In most cases, these agreements outline how property will be divided in the event a marriage ends in divorce. There are countless ways that these agreements can be drawn up. They may clearly define what type of property is to be considered “separate” and what type of property will be “marital.” However, these agreements can also be vague, leading to serious problems if a divorce occurs.

It is important that you seek assistance from a skilled Solana Beach property division attorney if you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place. These agreements need to be thoroughly reviewed by an attorney who will work to ensure that you are treated fairly, and that the agreement is adhered to properly.

Property Division and Debt

Debt is also considered during property division. Yes, your marital debt (debt acquired during the marriage) is community property subject to division in your case. In order to obtain a fair division, it is best to have an experienced lawyer on your side to fight for your legal rights when it comes to debt.

There are various types of debts that you may not consider to be marital debts, but they actually are. This can include all of the following:

  • any personal loans that are taken out while the marriage is ongoing, regardless of which spouses’ name is on the loan.
  • any credit card debt that is accrued, regardless of which spouses’ name is on the credit card.
  • any student loan debt that one spouse accrues, even if the other spouse is not a co-signer on the loan.
  • all mortgage or other property loans that are outstanding.
  • any car loans that are outstanding.

High Asset and Complex Property Divorce

Many instances of divorce are fairly straightforward when it comes to property division. However, if there are significant assets between the two spouses or if the two spouses own various properties, you will need specialized help from a property division attorney with experience handling these types of cases.

In instances when there are significant assets, the stakes are high, and your spouse may attempt to do everything in their power to secure as much of those assets as possible. The goal of your attorney in these cases will be to ensure all assets are properly accounted for and that they are distributed as equitably as possible.

High asset and complex property divorce cases are considerably more complicated, more emotional, and can take more time to complete.

What If My Spouse Is Hiding Assets?

During the divorce process, it is vital that all assets are properly accounted for so they can be equitably divided between the two spouses. Unfortunately, there are times when one spouse may attempt to hide certain assets from the other spouse in order to keep more than they should. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets in your divorce case, a skilled Solana Beach property division attorney will understand the next steps to take. It may be necessary to involve specialized accountants who can fully analyze your marital financial history in order to determine where any hidden assets may be. Your attorney will use the “discovery process” in a divorce case to obtain the records necessary to uncover any wrongdoing by the other spouse.

What You Can Do Moving Forward

Ratzer|Dobis is here to help. We are experienced mediators and tough litigators who will work to get you the best possible outcome in your divorce case. We are located in Solana Beach and are proud to serve clients throughout the greater San Diego area. Call us today at (858) 793-7700, or to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.


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