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Understanding California Property Codes When Dividing Assets
When you divorce, the state requires an equitable division of your property. Under California law, any property and income — including your pension and 401(k) — acquired during your marriage is considered community property, unless it is legally established as a separate property source.
At The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, in Orange County, we possess a thorough understanding of California's complex property code. Attorney Dorie A. Rogers has nearly 30 years of experience helping individuals divide property during divorce. Our Orange County division of property attorneys can guide you through property division and help ensure you receive an appropriate portion of the marital property.
Huntington Beach Community Property Lawyers
Under state law, your property and assets may fall under four different categories. Understanding these categories and how they affect your division of property can help you understand what to expect. The property categories are:
- Community: Property acquired during your marriage.
- Quasi-community: Property acquired and held outside of California.
- Separate: Property established as belonging to one person.
- Commingled: A combination of community and separate property.
When preparing for divorce, it is important to gain an accurate value of your property. We can use forensic accountants to evaluate all of your property to determine which assets or property belong in each category. This helps provide a clearer picture of the value and division possibilities.
You may be surprised to know that, in California, married partners are held accountable to the same fiduciary duties as business partners. This means that during the division of property you are required to disclose all assets at all times, and openly disclose the information to your spouse.
The court holds you responsible for your duties until community property is divided. Therefore, if you or your spouse tries to hide assets, you breach your fiduciary duty. The court can punish the guilty spouse through monetary sanctions such as awarding 100 percent of community property to the other spouse.
In California, when you divorce, automatic temporary restraining orders are put in place to protect you and your spouse. These automatic orders are designed to prohibit either party from divesting, selling or transferring property to someone else in order to hide or liquidate community property. The divorce code places strict monetary sanctions, or punishments, for violating the order or for failing to fully disclose property.
When you divorce, you require a separate qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) to divide your pensions. This order divides the total pension at the time you or your spouse retires. Depending on your situation, you may also buy out your spouse's portion, which would require an actuary to determine the value of the pension.
Call Our Laguna Beach Tracing Assets Law Firm Today
For more information, or to schedule a consultation with a lawyer, please call us at 714-602-1492 or send our Huntington Beach community property attorneys an e-mail.