PROPERTY DIVISION IN CALIFORNIA DIVORCES CAN CONFUSE OR INFURIATE
With the exception of child support and custody, the division of assets is often the most hotly contested aspect of divorce proceedings. The greater the shared assets between former spouses, the more potential for a protracted court battle over who gets what. Sometimes spouses are able to quickly and agreeably determine the division of assets early in a divorce.
However, many times couples need a judge to make that final decision, as there is no agreement on the value of certain items, like a coin collection, classic cars or a lake house. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help.
California is a community property state
Every state handles divorce and property division differently. California employs a community property model for property division. Both parties legally own assets, possessions and debts acquired during the span of the marriage equally. Generally, the only exceptions to the community property rule are items given as gifts and an inheritance received by one of the spouses. Not all property division is an equal fifty-fifty divide. Sometimes, one party may take on more of the marital debt as a means of offsetting receiving more of the marital assets. It all depends on what both parties can agree on.
Asset division can bring out the worst in some people
Some people will try to manipulate the divorce proceedings to be unfairly skewed in their favor. Particularly if the other party in the divorce has been planning ahead for this legal process, it can be difficult to determine how much your household is worth. They may have been hiding assets in an attempt to reduce the amount awarded to their spouse during the divorce. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to help you determine if assets are being hidden or intentionally under-disclosed in the hope of obtaining a more favorable outcome for one party.
An attorney can help with proper valuation of possessions
An experienced divorce attorney can connect you with professionals who can establish an appropriate value for the community property obtained during your marriage. These professionals, such as property appraisers, have experience and knowledge about the real value for possessions that are difficult to value. An attorney can also help reduce liability during a divorce. There are also often tax considerations when dividing assets during high asset divorce cases that individuals fail to realize until they are overwhelmed with tax liability.
Retaining the services of an experienced divorce and family law attorney who understands the complexities of high asset divorces is the best way to protect yourself and your financial security during a divorce. They can help place a realistic value on your possessions and advocate for a fair split of both debts and assets. If you haven’t already done so, schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible!