Property Division During Divorce in California
Ending a marriage can be a complicated process. This is especially true if you have been married a long time, have minor children together and maintain significant assets and property. When it comes to property division, California is a community property state. Essentially, all marital property is divided equally between the spouses. Your Irvine divorce lawyer can help you prepare all the financial paperwork necessary to determine what qualifies as community property.
If you have a prenuptial agreement in place, there is generally no need to consider property division. However, if no plan is in place, you will have to take a good hard look at your assets. When dividing property and assets during a divorce in California, there are several issues to consider:
- Separate property. Defined as property acquired before the marriage, or gifts or inheritance acquired during the marriage, separate property is not to be divided during a divorce.
- Marital property. Marital property includes any asset acquired or income earned by a married person while living with a spouse. Each spouse must receive half of the community estate.
- Debt. All debt acquired during the marriage must be split equally amongst both spouses.
- Pension plans. Any interest accrued on a pension plan during a marriage is subject to division. In most cases, the employed spouse must pay the other spouse a percentage of his or her pension check upon retirement.
- Employment benefits. Like pension plans, interest accumulated on an employee benefit plan, such as a retirement or profit sharing plan, is subject to division upon dissolution.
- Family home. Typically, the custodial parent remains in the family home until children reach the age of maturity. Then the family residence is sold. The home is also sold if no minor children are involved.
- Business or professional practice. A business or professional practice must be considered when valuing an estate.
An Orange County divorce attorney is well versed in issues of property division. Your attorney can help protect your assets and maintain your desired standard of living, even after divorce.
Trust your divorce case in the hands of Michel & Rhyne. Our attorneys can help ease the pain, frustration and stress of divorce by guiding you through the process and protecting your best interests.