Division of Assets in Orange County
The division of assets process can be amongst the most contentious matters that you’ll address as you go through a divorce. Material belongings and assets can be quite challenging to divide in a fair manner, and it’s not uncommon for one spouse to feel as though the proposed division is less than equitable. It’s also typical to encounter disagreements over what assets are individual and which are community assets. Ultimately, if a couple cannot arrive at an agreement, the matter may go before a judge or arbitrator who will make a decision on your behalf.
At Sarieh Law Offices, we have an experienced team of family law specialists (certified by the State Bar of California) who can help you work through the issues surrounding your divorce, including the division of assets, child custody negotiations and child support arrangements, amongst other issues. We also work with couples who are going through a legal separation.
Our elite team of Orange County family law attorneys are ready to help you address the division of your assets and debts out of court, negotiating and discussing the situation on your behalf. And if a resolution is elusive, our legal team can provide representation in court or during the arbitration process.
If you’re going through a divorce in California and need help with the division of assets or another issue, contact the family law attorneys with Sarieh Law Offices. To schedule a confidential, no-cost case evaluation, call 714-542-6200.
Common Questions and Concerns About Division of Assets in California
California has some very precise laws governing the division of assets, including real estate, vehicles, assets, along with any debts that you have incurred as a couple. So how do you arrive at an agreement? It can be a challenge, especially if you’re not represented by an attorney. Our legal team routinely receives questions on this topic, so we’ve compiled some information on a few of the most common concerns that our clients have as they go through the divorce process.
How is Division of Assets Handled in California?
In California, community property laws hold that money, real estate, vehicles and other assets that are acquired during the marriage are considered community property which is owned equally by both parties. Subsequently, it is typical to divide those assets equally during the divorce process.
Additionally, debts accrued during the marriage may also be considered community property, which is also usually divided equally between both parties.
The division of assets process is fairly straightforward. It usually begins by determining whether various assets or debts are marital community property or separate. They may be considered separate if the asset or debt was acquired or incurred before or after the marriage.
Once there is an agreement on what assets are considered marital property, the total value will be determined. Then, it’s a matter of dividing those assets in an equitable and fair manner. A 50/50 split is typically the objective.
What is Considered Separate Property?
In addition to the assets that a spouse held individually before the marriage, there are some other items that may be considered separate property. This includes:
- gifts given to you as an individual during the marriage;
- an inheritance that you receive as an individual during the marriage;
- items that are purchased with the proceeds of separate property; and
- any earnings or interest earned as a result of your separate property.
Sometimes, it can be a challenge to prove that a particular asset is your own, separate property. Your lawyer can work to help you establish ownership of a particular asset prior to the start of the marriage.
How Does the Date of Separation Impact Division of Assets?
California law says that any property that you acquire as an individual after the separation (but before the divorce is technically completed) is also considered separate, non-community property.
A separation is typically defined as the act of moving out and taking other actions that are indicative of your intentions to dissolve the marriage. It is not uncommon to encounter disagreements or discrepancies over the actual date of separation. This can become a point of contention when it comes to earnings, particularly large sums of money, such as an annual bonus.
If you are unable to agree upon the date of separation, the courts will review all available evidence and make a determination on your behalf. If there is any uncertainty, the courts will often err on the side of caution by considering the questionable assets as community property rather than separate property.
What are Co-Mingled Assets?
An asset may be co-mingled with their spouse’s belongings, thereby converting a separate asset into community marital property.
This can occur when you have a separate asset such as a bank account or a home and then begin treating it as marital property. For instance, if you had a personal bank account, but then got an additional card for your wife and allowed her to manage the bank account, this would likely be treated as marital property. The same may occur with a home if you enter the marriage with the property, but then allow your spouse to begin making payments on the mortgage. There are some exceptions, of course and this type of “co-mingled” asset can be the subject of debate and disputes.
What Happens if We Can’t Agree on a Fair Division of Assets?
Often, your attorney can negotiate with your soon-to-be-former partner’s attorney in a cooperative mediation-type process to arrive at an agreement that’s amenable to all involved. But in cases where it’s impossible to concern the division of assets, it’s typically necessary to escalate your case to the next level. This may entail going through arbitration or going before a judge who can make the decision on your behalf. The only disadvantage with these options is that you surrender control over the situation to the arbitrator or judge.
Trust Our Family Law Attorneys for Help With Division of Assets
Arriving at a fair, equitable division of assets can be a real challenge. It’s common for both parties to seek out possession of various material possessions, real estate, and vehicles, while attempting to pass the buck on the joint debts that you’ve incurred throughout your marriage.
At Sarieh Law Offices, our experienced team of family law attorneys are happy to assist with all aspects of your divorce, including the division of assets process, along with other matters, such as child custody, child support, and child visitation agreements. We also assist with other family law matters, including legal separations and adoptions.
We work with clients throughout Los Angeles and the nearby Orange County region of Southern California. When you trust your case to our family law attorneys, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that we are certified specialists in family law, holding certifications from the State Bar of California.
If you’re going through a divorce or legal separation, you need a qualified California family law attorney to protect your interests. Contact Sarieh Law Offices to arrange a confidential, no-cost case evaluation by calling 714-542-6200.