When married couples separate and go through divorce proceedings, they have to decide how to divide property, assets, and debt. The state of California has community property laws in place that indicate any debt or assets accumulated during the duration of the marriage must be equally divided in a divorce.
In some cases, the division of assets and debt are simple, and the couples are able to split them without legal aid. Most often, former spouses will disagree on how everything should be divided. They may have acquired a lot of assets and debt throughout the marriage and simply don’t know where to start with the division of property.
How is Marital Property Divided in the State of California?
When former couples begin to divide their marital property, assets, and debt, there are three steps that need to be followed.
- Distinguish which property or debt is separate and which is marital
- Come to an agreement on the value of the joint property
- Determine how to divide the debts and property
Each step of the process above can be complicated. A divorce attorney in San Bernardino County can help you determine what type of property you have, the value of your marital property, and how to best split the assets, property, and debts among you and your former spouse.
What is Community Property?
The first step is to determine what assets or debt are considered community property. What is considered community property in a divorce? California law typically assumes that any property, debts, or assets obtained during the time of the marriage are categorized as community property. For example, if the couple purchased a vehicle in California while they were married then the car would be considered community property.
What is Separate Property?
Separate property refers to anything owned alone before the couple was married. It can also refer to earnings on separate property and items that were exchanged for or purchased with separate property. The owner of the property must be able to prove that the property is theirs with documents or other financial records.
How is the Value of Marital Property Determined?
The couple or the court will typically assign a monetary value to the assets and property in the marriage. When necessary, appraisals can be made to determine the value of properties such as art pieces or antiques. Financial professionals can also be used to evaluate the value of certain assets such as retirement funds.
A skilled attorney can help you determine the value of your joint marital assets and help determine if you need the assistance of another professional for appraisals. Once the value of the property has been determined the couple can proceed with dividing the assets and debts equally.
Hire a San Bernardino & Ontario Attorney for Your Property Division Case
If you need help dividing the assets, property, and debt in your divorce proceeding, then you should consult with an attorney from RM Law Group LLP. Call our offices in San Bernardino or Ontario at (909) 453-2707 to set up your free consultation.