Divorce can be one of the most stressful, expensive, and emotional processes of a lifetime, and this is particularly true when the couple has significant property to divide. Fortunately, with the help of a skilled Los Angeles family & property division lawyer, divorce doesn’t have to be a nightmare. In California, there are specific laws governing the division of marital property; if you and your spouse cannot agree on a fair division of assets and debts, these laws can help you decide.
At The Sands Law Group APLC, our experienced, knowledgeable Los Angeles property division lawyers will guide you through this difficult process in the most economical, and least painful, way possible. We provide exceptional legal services, affordable fees, and a multi-lingual staff who can communicate with clients in five languages: Hebrew, French, Arabic, Spanish, and English. Contact The Sands Law Group APLC today for a confidential consultation about your case.
Generally speaking, anything that can be purchased or sold, or that has value, is considered to be property. This includes real estate, vehicles, bank accounts and cash, retirement plans, stocks, and insurance with cash value.
When a married couple decides to dissolve their marriage, they may hold jointly owned property, such as the family home, a bank account, or even a business. Sometimes the couple can agree on how to divide these assets, but more often than not they need help determining how to do so fairly and equitably.
When there is a question about how assets should be divided, California’s community property laws will provide the solution. Community property is any property that was accumulated during the marriage.
Even if a divorcing couple is in agreement about how to divide assets, the court will need to sign off on this agreement. When they cannot agree, the judge will decide for them. Until community property and debts are divided by an official court order, these assets and liabilities belong to both parties, regardless of any informal agreement made by and between the spouses.
Is Property Division Always Split 50 / 50 in California?
In California, property division during a divorce does not always result in a 50/50 split. California is a community property state, which means that marital property is generally divided equally between spouses. However, it’s important to note that equal division is the starting point, and the court may deviate from a 50/50 split based on several factors.
The court considers various factors to determine a fair division of property, including but not limited to:
- Asset and Debt Distribution: The court assesses the nature and value of all assets and debts acquired during the marriage. This includes real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, retirement savings, and debts such as mortgages, credit card balances, and loans.
- Individual Contributions: The court considers each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition, preservation, and appreciation of the marital assets. Contributions can be financial, such as income earned and investments made, or non-financial, such as homemaking or supporting the other spouse’s career.
- Duration of the Marriage: The length of the marriage is a significant factor. In shorter marriages, the court may lean towards a more equal division, whereas in longer marriages, the court may consider a more complex analysis of the spouses’ contributions and needs.
- Child Custody and Support: If there are children involved, the court may take into account the custody arrangement and child support obligations when determining the division of property. The primary caregiver may be awarded a larger portion of the assets to support the child’s needs.
- Spousal Support: The court also considers spousal support (alimony) when determining property division. The need for ongoing financial support, as well as the ability to pay, can influence the division of assets.
It’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney in California to understand how these factors apply to your specific situation. They can guide you through the property division process, protect your rights, and advocate for a fair and equitable distribution of assets and debts based on the unique circumstances of your case.
What Is Considered Marital Property in California?
California is a community property state, which means that any property acquired during the marriage is considered to be a community, or marital, property, and it will be divided equally in a divorce. The same rule applies to jointly owned debt. Anything you owned prior to the marriage, on the other hand, is separate property. As such, you should retain full ownership of that property upon the dissolution of your marriage.
Property includes anything that can be bought or sold, or has value, like:
- A house,
- Bank accounts and cash,
- Security deposits on apartments,
- Pension plans,
- 401(k) plans
“Negative” property is also considered during divorce and can include:
- Personal loans
- Credit card balances
- Equity loans
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Common Law Spouses Entitled to Property in California?
California does not recognize common law marriage, and there is no guarantee of a right to support or property following the dissolution of a non-marital relationship. However, when unmarried couples meet certain criteria, they may have some claim to financial support and property, if they can show a written or implied agreement to substantiate this claim.
Contact Our Los Angeles property division lawyers Today
If you have questions about the division of property in your divorce, the Los Angeles property division lawyers at The Sands Law Group APLC can help. We have helped countless clients navigate this process in the way that best aligns with their goals and objectives and ensures that their rights and best interests are protected from the beginning. Contact us today for a confidential consultation about your case.