Property division can be one of the most complex aspects of a divorce. It involves the division of assets and debts. The more complex the assets that a couple has, including something like owning a business, the more difficult it can be to understand how the property is divided. It can be helpful to work with someone with knowledge and experience. A Laguna Beach property division lawyer can help you work through the complexity of property division in your divorce.
The Laguna Beach divorce lawyers at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, have years of experience representing clients successfully so they get the outcome they desire in property division matters.
In most states, property division is handled in a way that aims for equitable division. California, though, is one of nine states that operates according to community property laws. This process attempts to produce an equal outcome in the division of property based on the value of the community property. It’s important to note that for these purposes, the meaning of property includes both the assets and the debts that are involved.
The property in the marriage will need to be divided into two groups:
The process of property division often begins with financial disclosures so both sides are aware of everything involved. Attempting to hide property in this process is a very serious violation and could negatively impact every aspect of the divorce, so it’s important that everything is properly disclosed. There may be disputes regarding what property belongs in what categories, and it may even be necessary for the court to get involved.
Once everything is properly categorized, it must be divided equally according to total value. This doesn’t necessarily mean that each asset must be evenly divided but rather the total value. However, it is likely that there will be assets, such as a house, that need to be sold in order to divide the proceeds and reach an even division.
When you involve a divorce lawyer in the property division process, it has some distinct advantages. One of the most important aspects of this process is setting expectations, especially if there is a chance that things turn contentious. With our experience in similar cases, we are able to determine the likely outcome of the process, so you won’t be blindsided.
We can also help support you through the process in Laguna Beach. Divorce can be an emotional experience, and it can help to have someone in the courtroom advocating for you who is able to do so with a clear mind while using experience and a firm understanding of the law to your advantage. Our legal team will also ensure other aspects of property division, like child custody, child support, and spousal support, are fairly addressed.
A: For the purposes of property division, community property is the assets and debts that will be divided during property division, and separate property is that which will be excluded from the process. Generally, this means that property acquired during the course of the marriage will be considered community property.
Any property that was owned before the marriage, gifts given to just one spouse, and inheritance will be considered separate property, so long as it hasn’t been commingled with community property.
A: During property division, a house can be handled in a few different ways. In most cases, the most practical option is for the house to be sold and the proceeds of the sale divided between the divorcing spouses. Another option is that one spouse will buy out the portion of the house that is rightfully the other spouse’s and keep the house themselves.
A third less-frequently used option is the couple maintaining joint ownership so that the children have a consistent household. When the children reach a certain age, the house is then sold, and the proceeds are divided.
A: Generally, an inheritance is not considered community property in a California divorce. However, there may be some exceptions to this if it is mixed with community property. For instance, if a vacation or rental house was inherited and improvements and repairs were made with the couple’s property, this could make it community property instead.
A: While the court may need to sign off on a final separation agreement to ensure there is nothing egregious and in violation of the law, this agreement can be negotiated, giving the divorcing couple more control over how property division is handled.
California’s community property division laws, which seek to create an equal division of property, may sound simple but can actually be quite complex. There are often issues trying to find the right balance between the values of different assets. Several assets may need to be sold, with the proceeds then being divided to reach the desired outcome.
Working with a property division law firm, like Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, can help smooth out some of these issues as they can call on an understanding of the law and experience to help simplify the process for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation so we can discuss your divorce details.
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