Property division simply refers to the division of assets, property, and other personal belongings a couple may have acquired over the years. Community property laws state that all assets received during a marriage are to be split equally if a separation or divorce occurs between partners. Unless otherwise stated in a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement, all property that is acquired will be considered jointly owned in the eyes of the law and can include anything from your 401k pensions to your properties and vehicles.
There are two main forms of property recognized by the state of California when a couple files for divorce:
People who are married still have the right to own property individually. Separate property is recognized by the state to be under one partner’s ownership and is oftentimes not subject to division if divorce occurs. If one or both partners own many important assets, they might consider getting a pre-nuptial agreement. This agreement identifies their separate property and assets if they were to divorce in the future. If property or assets are acquired during a marriage that a spouse wants to identify as separate, post-nuptial agreements can also be made. If a divorce occurs, separate property belonging to each spouse may have temporary restrictions implemented by the court until the divorce process is finalized.
Marital (Community) Property
Marital property, more commonly known as community property in California, is the property that a couple acquires throughout their marriage. This means that it is owned equally by each partner in the eyes of the law. Property that is considered “community” can include vehicles, properties owned, furnishings, art, insurance policies, retirement plans, bank accounts, investments, and more. Neither spouse is allowed to try to sell or give away any kind of community property without the consent and knowledge of the other. Community property can also include shared debts that a couple may have collected together, meaning that the responsibilities for taking care of those also have to be separated fairly.
Property division isn’t always simple, as you’re often parting with things that you love. Hiring a property division lawyer in California can help to make the process easier while helping fight for assets that are important to you. You should consider finding a property division lawyer if:
You’re in a High Asset Divorce
High-asset divorces can be stressful, which is why it’s important to have an attorney working with you who is experienced with them. Divorces involving many expensive assets often take longer to finalize due to aspects such as property division. A property division lawyer can not only help you manage your properties, but they can assist with the process of working with the court to split them equally.
You Need to Have Your Property Evaluated
Figuring out the overall worth of your different assets can be complicated. Hiring an attorney can help speed up the process of evaluating your different properties and assets so that you can have a better idea of how they will be divided. An attorney is also experienced with evaluating and distributing shared property. They can help you understand the process as well as make sure your partner isn’t hiding anything that you both own.
You Have Separate Property
If you have separate property, you will most likely need a lawyer to go through the property division process. This is to ensure that there are no issues with assets that belong solely to you and that they are not split or given to the other partner. In some cases, separate property may be turned into community property through a process known as transmutation. In most divorces, separate property that is acknowledged in prenups or postnups is safe, but it’s always smart to have the help of an attorney you trust.
There Is Complex Property Division
Complex property division is a term used for the assets that aren’t as simple to separate, like properties or personal belongings. Property division that is considered complex can include assets such as businesses owned by one or both partners, stocks and investments, business partnerships, and retirement funds.