In regards to dividing property between divorcing spouses, the State of California under the community property laws does not discriminate as to who brought in the wealth during the marriage. Any and all property accumulated during the marriage is first presumed community property of the marriage. Even if only one spouse was the primary worker to earn the money, the income as a matter of law is wealth belonging to both spouses, as long as it was accumulated during the marriage. This accumulation period also has many implications about determining time period between the date of the marriage to the date of separation.
This states that if you are a top-earning spouse such as a medical professional, skilled tradesman, movie producer, or corporate professional and you gathered substantial assets via retirement plans, real estate, or subtle assets, your spouse could be designated to an allotment of half the value of the community assets. However, in practice, the distribution of community assets and debts does not always result in an equal distribution. Assets do not have to be distributed in kind. The art of negotiation and equalizing how the assets and debts are divided is what will differentiate the skilled Family Law Specialist from the rookie attorney or unrepresented party.
Divorce and community property attorney Charles M. Green will assert your rights to your community and separate property, by way of settlement negotiations or trial. Our goal is to help you keep and preserve as much of your assets as you can when you go through divorce. It is common for us to retain experts who can provide accurate valuation of assets—such as professional practices, businesses, and real estate—that would be most favorable to our client’s position. This allows us to properly prepare the clients’ cases for trial, which is especially helpful if the case does not settle.
Community property and debt division can become complicated should you take into account a spouse’s legal option for reimbursement, transmutations, credit, and quasi-community properties. It is important to hire legal counsel that is thoroughly familiar with the numbers. There are numerous presumptions under the California Family Code and case law that define the characterization of community assets and debts.
An additional significant factor is whether the marriage was short-term, defined not more than 10 years, or long-term. Communal property findings tend to be more frequent in long-term marriages. The length of the marriage can also determine amount and length of spousal support.
Support in a short term marriage when granted, is generally for half the length of the marriage. In a long-term marriage, no termination date for spousal support is set and such payments can be opened ended. This is one of the reasons you need a skilled California Attorney that is an experienced Family Law Specialist capable of negotiating terms of support that won’t financially cripple the payer for the rest of their life.
Determining if an asset is separate property or community property can be complicated by identifying which asset is a marital asset is subject to division of property principals in California. For instance, perhaps a spouse bought a house just prior to marriage but the majority of mortgage payments were made by both parties. Or perhaps that house is significantly underwater as a result of the real estate downturn and is not an asset at all but a liability that needs allocated to one of the divorcing parties to finalize the division of property portion of the dissolution case.
Retirement accounts, child support and health insurance are also frequently at issue as a result of a division of property portion of a California divorce. The state’s no-fault divorce law does not mean an equal split of each specific asset is to be divided in kind . However the complicated maze of property division laws could mean your biggest fault is failure to consult with an experienced Certified Family Law Specialist attorney as early as possible in the divorce process.
Charles M. Green has dedicated his career to representing clients in Los Angeles Family Law cases including divorce, child custody as well as property and debt division issues of all financial amounts.