Property Settlement Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA

Resolve Property (Asset) Division Disputes

Property division disputes are a frequent issue in California divorces. Second to issues involving children, asset division is the biggest point of contention in a divorce. Attorney Charles M. Green has found that negotiation and mediation leading to a Voluntary Settlement are effective ways to resolve property settlement disputes. He will not hesitate to go to court when necessary if that will provide you a desirable outcome.

The settlement process involves determining what is the separate property of each spouse and what is community property. The characterization of property acquired and income earned during the marriage will need to be inventoried and characterized. 

Separate Property or Community Property?

Determining if an asset is separate property or community property can be complicated by identifying which assets are marital assets subject to the 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 to be 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 the failure to consult with an experienced Certified Family Law Specialist attorney as early as possible in the divorce process.

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Separation & Valuation Date Disputes

The specific date of separation is a vital component in asset division disputes. The actual day the marriage ended can be subjective and often a point of contention between a divorcing couple. The date of separation can determine if property is separate or community and can impact the duration of spousal support. Similarly, the date an asset is valued such as a home valued on the date of trial or another date can have a material effect on your financial recovery from the dissolution process.

Dividing Community Property

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 for determining the time period between the date of the marriage to the date of separation.

Property Division Lawyer Los Angeles

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.

Protecting Community Property Assets

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 the 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.

Take Control through a ‘Voluntary Settlement’

At our firm, we recognize that arguments can arise over who owns what. Attorney Charles M. Green is a strong believer in the negotiation and mediation process. The division of community property is an important part of a divorce. The lifetime significance of a property settlement should make one think twice before relinquishing the decision-making process to a caring but overly burdened court system, that will be very expensive and may require many experts to be employed for testimony. If possible, the division of your possessions should be determined between you and your soon to be ex-spouse. Mediation within a skillfully managed “Voluntary Settlement Process” allows for innovative and creative solutions in dividing property to take into account your particular facts and your particular needs.

Charles M. Green | Former CPA*

In addition to Mr. Green’s experience as a community property settlement attorney and his certification as a specialist in family law, he also holds a background in accounting as a former CPA (currently inactive). His knowledge of finance gives clients a true understanding of the value of community property and the rights that they have to these assets. Charles M. Green’s approach is to seek a resolution through negotiation and mediation first. Voluntary settlement offers significant advantages over the courtroom:

  • Mediation allows for innovative and creative solutions that meet the needs of both parties.
  • Settlement is a less costly and time-consuming process than a trial.
  • Negotiation is more likely to preserve an amicable relationship with the other party after the divorce, which can be important with issues such as child custody and visitation.

While voluntary settlement offers these advantages, Family Law Attorney Charles M.  Green can represent your community property case effectively in the courtroom should the other party be unwilling to compromise reasonably.

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Charles M. Green is Certified as a Family Law Specialist through the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California.

A Certified Family Law Specialist must pass an extensive written examination in the variety of subjects that are family law, be approved by a peer review process and show proficiency in Family Law by having represented clients in a sufficient number of Family Law cases with varying degrees of complexity. Continuing education is required to maintain this specialty designation.

Charles Green also has prior experience as a Certified Public Accountant. This combination of legal and financial experience and education makes Charles M. Green uniquely qualified to represent clients in the most complex of financial issues that are found in...

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