Are you overwhelmed with the steps involved in separation or divorce division of property? Contact the Law Office of Cherish Om to get in touch with a divorce lawyer today.
Property division is one of the more complicated parts of separation or divorce proceedings. It involves the distribution of assets and liabilities accumulated during the course of your marriage—which may include your marital estate, retirement accounts, personal belongings and more.
As if the legal side of property division wasn’t stressful enough, the emotional impact of separating from your spouse can make it even harder. It’s important to navigate this challenging terrain with an understanding of your rights so you can reach a resolution that is fair and favorable, which a divorce attorney can help you with.
This article helps you understand what property division is and shows you the importance of hiring a division of assets lawyer to help with your property division needs.
A division of property attorney can help make California property division laws less confusing. I am an experienced attorney who can help you understand what steps you need to take when dividing property as part of your divorce process at the Law Office of Cherish Om.
What is Property Division in California?
California is a community property state. That means the principles of community property apply under California Family Code § 2550 (2022).
Community property means that the assets and debts accumulated throughout the course of your marriage are regarded as jointly owned by both you and your spouse. The only exception would be inheritances and gifts given to one spouse.
Property and debts accumulated before a marriage or after a separation are considered separate property in asset division. A family law attorney can help you understand the difference.
Only nine states use the community property rules. Unlike California, most states are equitable distribution states, where the court aims to divide things in a way that is most fair and equitable to the parties rather than divide property down the middle. Whereas equitable distribution aims to divide things “fairly,” community property states tend to divide things down the middle, regardless of the circumstances. This can lead to drastically different outcomes depending on what state you live in.
The take-away is that if you acquire quite a bit of wealth or property during your marriage in a community property state like California, you should know how these divorce rules could apply to you.
Types of Community Property in California
Community property in California refers to a broad range of assets and debts, including but not limited to the following:
- Bank accounts or cash
- Pension or 401 (k) plans
- Businesses owned by you or your spouse
- Residences such as the marital home
In a separation or divorce settlement, the court is typically tasked with an equal distribution of assets and liabilities between the spouses.
Dividing Marital Debts
Dividing debt in a divorce or separation may create unique challenges compared to other forms of community property. As an example, a credit card company that you owe money to may choose not to accept payments from your spouse, even if you both agree that your spouse will be responsible for this joint debt.
Additionally, if your spouse misses one or more payments, the credit company can seek payment from you and the missed deadlines could hurt your credit rating.
The spouse that takes on the debt may also be entitled to more community property, among other changes to your property division.
It may be best for you to pay off debt rather than dividing it, if you are able to do so. Talk to an experienced property division law firm to receive more guidance on your particular case.
Contesting Community Property
Unless proven otherwise, the court considers whatever a couple owns as described above to be joint property, and both partners have a stake in it.
If a spouse has property that you believe is not community property, you must show evidence to the court that it is the spouse’s separate property (acquired before marriage), received as a gift or inheritance, or covered by a marital property settlement agreement stating that it’s only owned by the contesting spouse.
Benefits of Hiring a Property Division Attorney
Dividing assets in a divorce or separation can be very stressful. An experienced property division lawyer brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, ensuring that each spouse’s rights and interests are protected throughout the process.
Given California’s status as a community property state, a skilled asset distribution attorney can help unravel complex financial matters. Family lawyers can analyze the details of each case, making compelling arguments so you have a better chance of receiving your fair share of your marital property.
By leveraging my legal expertise, I empower my clients to make informed decisions that align with their financial objectives and long-term well-being. I strive to provide a valuable support system, guiding individuals like you through the complexities of property division with a focus on achieving favorable outcomes and minimizing stress during a challenging period in your life.
How Does Federal Law Affect The Division of Property?
Federal law has a very limited impact on property division in California divorce cases, because marital property division is primarily governed by state law.
While federal law doesn’t dictate the specifics of property division in California, it may influence certain aspects. For example, taxes and retirement benefits are often caught up in property division disputes. Both of these are generally governed by federal law.
Talk to a property division attorney for legal advice regarding federal law and how it affects the division of your marital property.
The Law Office Of Cherish Om: Dedicated Asset Distribution Attorney Here To Serve You
My family law firm is prepared to help you with all aspects of your property division so you can approach this confusing period in your life with greater confidence. As a dedicated divorce lawyer, I work closely with you to understand your legal needs and treat each case with dignity and care. Call (831) 291-5315 or visit my website to learn more about working with me, Cherish Om, as your property division lawyer.