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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Hoffer Family Law Firm
As you know, we are now living in uncertain times. Our society has shifted in ways that were completely unexpected 3-6 months ago. As a result, our priorities and actions need to shift as well. Remember, we cannot control the wind, but we can always adjust our sails. The Courts here in Southern California are closed for the foreseeable future. The Los Angeles County courts are taking filings and are hearing emergency matters. The Ventura County Courts are hearing emergency matters but are not taking filings at all. Currently, both court systems are scheduled to re-open in mid-May; however, given the current state of affairs, it is likely that the closures will be extended.
So, how do we adjust our sails? We set you up for success for when the Courts re-open, your case will be ready to go.
1. Video Consultations: All you need is a phone, an iPad, or a computer with a webcam and a microphone and we can have a video consultation. Please click here to schedule.
2. For Divorce Cases: For existing cases in Ventura County, we can prepare your disclosures, create a discovery plan and ready your case for when the court opens again. For Los Angeles County, we can file your Petition and related documents, prepare your disclosures, create a discovery plan and ready your case for when the court opens again.
My Advice to you!
3. Be physically and emotionally healthy! There is a lot of humor circulating about how people are gaining weight and getting drunk during this period. Don’t give in to that. This is the time to take stock and improve on those things you always wanted. It means reading that book you wanted to read. It means taking that online course you always meant to take. It means gaining that skill that you didn’t have time for. It also means not letting your divorce case sit unattended. There is always work to be done. Let us handle it for you. Take this period of time to be proactive!
Thanks for taking the time to drop by.
Jeffrey L. Hoffer
Certified Family Law Specialist – located in Agoura Hills, CA.