As a community property state, California considers all property acquired during your marriage as being owned equally by both spouses. This means that a legal separation or divorce calls for all marital property and debt to be equally divided and distributed between the two parties. If either spouse wishes to maintain rights of ownership to any assets or avoid any specific debt, he or she must prove to the court that those assets or debts are separate from the marital estate. In some cases, valid prenuptial or post-marital agreements may have predetermined the issue of these assets and debts.
The division of marital property and debt is arguably the second most contentious issue in any divorce after child custody. This issue has enormous significance for your financial future. You will want to ensure your rights are protected and that you leave your marriage in the best financial condition possible. At Bobby Cloud Law, we are here to help you reach fair and just property settlements that will give you the financial footing you need to move forward in life as a single person. This can be done through skilled negotiation, mediation, or the collaborative law process. However, Attorney Cloud will fight for your best interests in court if that is the best option.
Get a free initial consultation with our Bakersfield property division attorney to discuss your needs, goals, and options. Contact Bobby Cloud Law online or at (661) 464-1347 to start.
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Divorce and family law matters can be difficult, emotional, and confusing. Having the guidance of a seasoned family lawyer can be invaluable when you are going through such a life-changing experience. Bobby Cloud puts experience, compassion, realistic counsel, and strong advocacy on your side.
Marital Property & Debt Division in California
Your marital estate in a divorce consists of all of the assets and property you have acquired over the life of your marriage.
This can include:
- Your home and other real property holdings
- Personal belongings
- Life insurance
- Stocks and bonds
- Other investments
- Family-owned businesses and business interests
- Retirement accounts and pensions
- Expensive art, jewelry, and collectibles
These, along with the marital debts you have accrued, regardless of who accrued them, are all part of the “marital estate.” Thus, they must be divided on a 50-50 basis as much as possible.
Separate vs. Community Property
Separate property is not subject to division in your divorce. This consists of property acquired and titled to one party only before the marriage, inheritances or gifts given to one spouse only during the marriage, and any property or items covered in a valid prenuptial or post-marital written agreement.
Separate property that has been shared with your spouse throughout your marriage, however, can be viewed as community property in your divorce. For example, if you maintained a separate savings account that was created before your marriage but then used its proceeds to renovate the marital home (which benefits your spouse as well as you), that account can be seen as marital property.
Let Us Help You Protect Your Future
The division of marital property and debt can become extremely complex, especially when dealing with pension plans, retirement accounts, hidden assets, overseas accounts. and complicated assets such as stock options, family-owned small businesses, and professional practices. You will need the knowledge, skills, and advocacy of our experienced attorney who can protect your financial rights and future.