Community Property and Divorce
One of the most contentious issues during a divorce is property division. In most cases, it is difficult for the two spouses to agree on how to distribute marital property. That’s where the role of a divorce attorney in LA comes in handy.
According to property laws, all assets and debts accumulated by the spouses while in marriage should be divided equally in case of a divorce. There are a few instances where couples agree on how marital property should be divided.
However, a majority of people end up in court to decide who goes with what and who remain with want.
Regardless of whether you agree on how to distribute your property or end up in court, there are three important things you should consider:
- Determine if the property is separate of community
- Agree on the value or worth of the community property
- Decide on how you are going to divide the property
Difference between community property and separate property
Under the California property laws, it’s always presumed that all assets or property acquired by couples during the marriage is community property. This means that the property equally belongs to the two partners.
On the other hand, if a spouse had property or assets prior to the marriage, such assets are considered separate. That implies that they cannot be contested by the other partner during a divorce.
Separate property comprises things such as earnings, businesses started before marriage, and any other asset that was purchased before the marriage was legalized.
Additionally, California divorce law also considers property acquired after separation but for a divorce as separate property. The date of separation here doesn’t necessarily mean the day one spouse moves out of the house. Instead, it refers to the day a spouse decides to end the marriage.
The date of separation turns out to be a big issue especially if one spouse earns an extraordinary amount of money just after separating.
It will require the services of an experienced divorce attorney Los Angeles to prove your case. A couple can also decide to change separate property into community property before getting married.
However, such an agreement should be in writing and clearly state why the spouse is doing so. You can also seek help from divorce lawyers in LA prior to signing the agreement.
A lot of divorcing couples in California don’t understand at what point separate property becomes community property. Some convert separate property into community property without knowing what they are doing.
That’s why it is vital to engage a Los Angeles divorce lawyer before signing documents relating to your property.
For instance, a premarital bank account owned by one spouse automatically becomes community property if the other spouse makes cash deposits into the account.
A house previously owned by one spouse will become a community property is the other spouse starts to pay the mortgage and any other expenses such as repairs.
You need a good Los Angeles divorce attorney to explain some of these things to you before making any commitments.
A general guideline of how property is divided
According to California’s divorce laws, a couple can distribute assets by allocating certain items to each other, selling the property and dividing the proceeds or one spouse “buying out” the other’s share of business or assets. But couples can also decide to hold property jointly even after a divorce.
Considering the fact that property division is a contentious issue, it is always good to have experienced divorce attorneys Los Angeles.
In situations where the couple can’t agree on how to divide certain property, the court will be the one to decide how the community property will be divided.
As such, getting proper representations from Stearns Kim & Stearns & Ryan will be important to make the process run smoothly.