Los Angeles Property Division Lawyer2024-05-09T13:23:10+00:00

When a couple goes through a divorce, they must make decisions on a number of conditions to separate their lives. One thing they must decide on is the division of their assets, property, and debts. When dividing property, it is recommended to seek the help of a Los Angeles property division lawyer to assist you through the emotionally trying and legally complex process.

The Dorie A. Rogers for Los Angeles’s Property Division

When it comes to hiring any type of attorney, you want to work with someone you can trust. Dorie A. Rogers is not only one of Tustin’s most trusted attorneys, but she also has over three decades of experience in working in the world of the law. In addition to her extensive experience, Attorney Rogers has completed rigorous training to become a certified family law specialist by the State Bar of California—something not many other attorneys have achieved. Dorie A. Rogers and her team have dedicated their practice to helping families through difficult situations. No matter what you’re going through, don’t hesitate to reach out for compassionate and efficient legal assistance from the team at the Dorie A. Rogers.

Choosing a Lawyer You Can Trust

At The Dorie A. Rogers, APC, we understand the complexities and emotional toll that can come with a divorce. We are committed to helping you find the necessary solutions for your unique situation. Additionally, we can provide you with the legal strategies to assist you with all the other issues that come with divorce. 

We remain knowledgeable in family law in California, even though this area of law is ever-changing. We offer tailored strategies for each of our clients. We will communicate with you, keeping you informed and involved every step of the way. We want to make sure that your interests and assets are protected. We will listen to your concerns and address your needs attentively. 

Property Laws in California

California is a community property state. Under this structure, community property is divided equally between both spouses in the event of divorce. This does not mean that each item is split directly down the middle. It means that the value of the assets that both parties receive should be equal. For example, if one person is awarded the family home in a divorce, the other person may be awarded another family property that the two share to equal out the property division.

Community property is defined as all property that the couple accumulated during the marriage. This includes homes, vacation properties, income earned, vehicles, furniture, electronics, retirement plans, pensions, and stocks and bonds. These laws also apply to collective debts the couple accumulated during the divorce.

Separate property does not get split in the event of divorce. Separate property is property acquired before the marriage or after the divorce. Income acquired from separate property is also considered separate. Some common examples of separate property include personal property, inheritances, and gifts.

Property Acquired During Separation

California law dictates that assets and debts accumulated during the time of separation are considered separate property. Separation is not necessarily the date that one spouse leaves the joint residence but is instead determined by two factors:

  • There has been an expression of intent to terminate the marriage to the other spouse
  • Consistent actions aligning with the intent to end the marriage

Determining the date of separation can be crucial, especially if one spouse receives sudden or unexpected money or if they make significant purchases just before the divorce. If a couple does not agree on the date of separation, a court can look at the evidence to determine when the separation occurred, including when a spouse moved out, when the couple established separate accounts, and/or when they communicated their intentions to end the divorce.

Can Separate Property Become Community Property?

Separate property can become community property in California through two main methods: comingling of assets and transmutation agreements.

  • Comingling of assets: If separate property funds are mixed with community property funds, it can become a challenge to distinguish between the two. In these cases, the commingled property may be treated as community property, especially if it’s difficult to trace the source of funds back to separate property.
  • Transmutation agreements: Spouses have the option to change the distinction of property from separate to community (or vice versa) through a legal agreement called a transmutation agreement. These agreements must be in writing and signed by both spouses, and their intentions must be explicitly stated to change the property’s classification.

Dividing Property in California

In California, if there is no written agreement, such as a prenuptial agreement that specifies how the property should be divided, the couple’s community property should be divided equally. To determine the net community estate, a judge subtracts the couple’s debts from their community property assets. In most cases, each spouse receives half of the net community estate.

Community property laws in California don’t require a physical division of each item (an “in kind” division). Instead, the focus is on ensuring that each spouse receives assets of equal value—a straightforward 50/50 split to ensure equal value.

When it comes to dividing assets in a divorce in California, spouses have several options. They can allocate specific items to each spouse, allow one spouse to buy out the other’s share of an asset, or sell assets and divide the proceeds. They can also agree to maintain joint ownership of certain property even after divorce.

Dividing Community Debts

Community property laws also apply to all debts incurred during their marriage, which may include mortgages, car loans, and credit card debts. It’s important to note that a separation agreement or divorce decree doesn’t legally bind creditors, who may still pursue collection efforts against either spouse for community debts.

In the event that a debt is assigned to one spouse, the other can request the court to place a lien on that spouse’s separate property to secure repayment. It’s often advisable to aim for settling all marital debts when the divorce is finalized.

In cases where the total debt exceeds the value of assets, any remaining debt not covered by community assets will be allocated to each spouse in a manner considered “just and equitable” by the judge while also considering each party’s ability to repay the debt.

Dividing a Business in a Divorce

A business, or any other professional venture, is also subject to community property laws. If the business was established or expanded during the marriage, community property interest must be addressed upon separation. A significant challenge in this process is evaluating goodwill, the value based on the expectation of future business that comes from reputation or name recognition.

No matter how much support one spouse provides to the other’s business, any business cultivated during the marriage is considered California community property. Valuing a business can be difficult. It involves meticulous assessment, typically evidenced by the testimony of certified public accountants or business appraisers. These professionals review the business’s financial records and prepare a comprehensive report for the judge to determine the value of the business.

While a judge may order one spouse to buy out the other, they must determine that co-ownership isn’t feasible. Alternatively, the judge may award the business to one spouse and devise a fair arrangement for the other spouse. Typically, the court’s decision aims to achieve equitable distribution of assets while considering the circumstances of the case.

Dividing The Family Home

In most divorce cases, the couple shares a family home. So, who gets awarded the home in the event of divorce? In California, it is typical for the primary custodial parent to receive the family home during divorce proceedings, mainly for the sake of the children.

In this case, the spouse living in the home will be financially responsible for the cost of the home, such as upkeep, mortgage payments, and other bill payments, unless there is a significant difference in the income of the two spouses.

In some divorces, the custodial spouse may be awarded the home permanently while the judge awards the other spouse a larger share elsewhere to offset this cost. If neither spouse can afford the home on their own, the judge may order them to sell it and split the cost.

California Divorce FAQs

Q: What Is the Property Division Law in California?

A: The property division law in California states that any property and debts obtained during a marriage are considered community property. Therefore, if the couple is to divorce, they will split their community property in half so each side receives equal value in the divorce. Every asset will not be split in half, but the value of what each person receives should be of equal worth.

Q: Is it Always 50-50 Split in Divorce in California?

A: Generally speaking, a divorce in California is almost always 50-50. This 50-50 split only applies to community property or property acquired during the divorce. It does not include items or income obtained before the divorce. This 50-50 share also does not apply to items or agreements outlined in a formal document prior to the marriage, such as a prenuptial agreement.

Q: How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Half of Everything in California?

A: In California, there is no requirement for how long you have to be married to get half of everything. As soon as a couple is legally married, any assets or debts acquired in the marriage become community property and are subject to equal division in the event of a divorce.

Q: Are There Exceptions to the Equal Division of Property in California Divorces?

A: While California law typically grants equal division of community property, there are exceptions and considerations that may impact the division split. Factors such as each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, earning capacity, health, and the nature of specific assets may influence the court’s decision to deviate from a strict 50/50 split.

Contact The Dorie A. Rogers, APC Today

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, you don’t have to face it alone. The Dorie A. Rogers, APC, can help you understand property division laws and help you get the outcome you deserve. Contact us today for more information.

Reviews Quotes
“Dorie is a very powerful attorney and a great asset to have on your side in any family legal matter. She is extremely bright and insightful, and I got everything I asked for in my lawsuit.”
Brit B.
“I would strongly recommend Ms. Dorie Rogers for any legal needs. During my Divorce proceedings, Dorie’s professionalism, expertise in Divorce Law and legal skill helped bring my case to a close in both a timely and mutually agreeable manner.

Additionally, Dorie took the time to understand me and my background to better represent me in my case. She showed a level of caring and concern that helped me through a very difficult time. She is an outstanding lawyer and wonderful person.”

Alan M. Greenberg
“Second to none – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dorie to anyone. She was my attorney for my divorce and custody case. She will do everything it takes to get the job done and all with a smile on her face. Her knowledge and expertise will assist anyone in a family law situation get the results they want.”
Todd M.


Go to Top