A Divorce Law Firm That Aggressively Works to Protect Your Assets
When you are going through a divorce, dividing assets fairly between you and your spouse can be a point of contention. If both parties cannot come to an agreement on how to fairly handle the division of assets, the courts will divide your property as directed by California law. If you are currently working through a divorce, our divorce attorney can keep you informed of your rights and guide you through this difficult time.
Community and Separate Property
California is one of ten states which classify all property owned by a spouse as either community property, which is owned by both parties equally, or separate property, which is wholly owned by one spouse. During divorce proceedings, community property is divided equally between each party while each spouse is entitled to keep assets classified as separate.
Not every possession is capable of being split between spouses and property division does not necessarily mean that an exact division of all property physically occurs. Generally, each spouse will receive a share of the total estate equal to the value which they are awarded. All debts such as mortgages, car loans, and credit card balances are also counted along with assets and included in the division of property.
In California, property which either spouse acquires while married is almost always considered to be community property and thus owned by both parties.
Separate property can include assets which were:
- Acquired before divorce is completed but after separation
- Clearly and independently owned before the marriage
- A gift or inheritance from a third party
- Acquired by directly exchanging separately owned property
- Derived from separate property which increased in value
Protecting Your Assets
When dividing assets, the line between community and separate property is not always clear. Most marriages contain an instance where one spouse contributed or added value to the personal property of their partner. For example, a spouse might deposit funds into what was previously a separate financial account.
The date a couple is considered to be separated can also be subjective and if couples cannot agree, a date will be determined by a judge. An ambiguous date of separation can call into question the status of property acquired near the end of a marriage. The process of asset division can be extremely complicated and an attorney from our firm can provide legal advocacy to ensure you receive your fair share of total assets.
Due to the nature of property division, a spouse may try to hide or undervalue the total worth of their assets. It is illegal to engage in this sort of manipulation and doing so can have strict penalties. When going through a divorce, it is important to thoroughly document all property and accurately appraise all assets. If you think your spouse has or is planning to shield their assets from property division, our firm can take the appropriate steps to see that your interest are protected.