Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of California, and Board of Legal Specialization

If you are getting divorced, the division of your property may shape your financial future. Although the law about the division of marital assets may appear straightforward, it can be surprisingly complex when you look at the many details involved in a shared life. There are many considerations when going through this process, and our team of Agoura Hills property division lawyers are ready to help. Our skilled divorce attorneys could assess your situation and help you fight for your fair share of your marital assets.

What is the Difference Between Community and Separate Property?

 California is a “community property” state, which means that all assets and property acquired after marriage belong to both spouses and should be equally divided upon divorce. This excludes any property owned before the wedding and any inheritance received before or during the marriage. In theory, all assets are considered part of the marital estate and should be divided 50/50 in the event of divorce. In reality, the picture can be much more complex, especially in instances where there may be conflicts over separate property.

Separate property is anything an individual owned before the marriage. However, many factors can complicate this definition. For instance, if one party owns a house, but the couple lives there together, there may be a question about this property’s division. There may have been circumstances where the non-owner of the house contributed by paying for a portion of the mortgage or financing repairs. These types of situations may affect the outcome of the division of assets. An attorney in Agoura Hills could help one spouse determine which assets may be a part of the property division process.

Other Kinds of Property

The line between separate and community property is not always clear. In a high net-worth divorce, for example, the process of determining community versus separate property can be extensive. Additionally, pension and retirement plans may complicate divorce proceedings even further, along with assets related to a closely held business or private professional practice. It is important to note that a court considers any debt that a couple accrued during their marriage to belong to both parties. This means that a court may decide to divide any marital debt equally between both spouses

The Importance of the Date of Separation

The law states that any property acquired by an individual after a marital separation also should be considered separate property. However, divorce can take a long time, and therefore it is crucial to establish the appropriate date of separation. The law does not require that one party physically leave the marital residence to create separation. Instead, a court reviews the facts around when the parties decided to divorce.

A judge may look for proof of some act of physical separation that demonstrates the end of a marriage. For example, one party may move to a different part of the house or sleep in a separate room. The date of separation is a sensitive issue that impacts the division of property, and an Agoura Hills lawyer understands the proof necessary to determine this critical issue.

Speak with an Agoura Hills Property Division Attorney

Although the community property “50/50” rule may seem simple at first, it may become more complicated as more assets are introduced into the marriage. Because this portion of the divorce process can have a great impact on your life after marriage, you may want to have an advocate by your side. Call our Agoura Hills property division lawyers for more information on these issues.

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