Equitable Distribution of Property
California is an equitable distribution state. That means that all property and assets accumulated during the marriage are typically considered to be owned by both parties. However, the court’s predisposition to view both spouses as equal owners of marital property does not necessarily mean you will automatically be granted half of your shared assets.
Also keep in mind that California’s equitable distribution approach applies to assets which you and your spouse acquired after marriage and before separation, if applicable. Any property or income either of you accumulate before you get married or after you decide to stop living together is likely to be considered yours, exclusively.
Enforceability of Marital Agreements
Having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place at the time you decide to divorce will likely affect the way your property is divided. (Whether this has a positive or negative effect on how much shared property you walk away with depends on the terms of the agreement in question.) Such agreements often include specific instructions regarding the following:
- Rights to sell, lease, rent, or hold on to specific property
- Obligations to maintain ownership or responsibility for certain properties
- Who will be eligible to receive certain benefits in the event of a death or divorce
Issues with marital agreements can prevent you from getting your fair share of marital property. If you are getting divorced and have concerns regarding prenuptial agreements or postnuptial agreements, you should seek professional assistance as soon as you are able.
Property Value Determinations
It is generally up to you and your spouse to assign monetary value to all your shared property. For more complex or higher-value assets, you may need the help of an appraiser, especially if you have family heirlooms, antiques, and other items whose value may have appreciated since you first acquired them. Valuing assets such as retirement accounts may require the help of a financial professional, such as an advisor or CPA.
Getting an official assessment of the value of your shared property can be helpful in forming your expectations of how much money you may be eligible to receive if you and your spouse sell that property or if he or she wishes to buy you out and maintain full ownership.
Out-of-Court Divorce Solutions for Couples in Orange County
There are a variety of other factors that could play into the way your shared assets are divided. Admittedly, property division is one of the messier, more complex aspects of disentangling your life from that of your spouse, but our team at Alternative Divorce Solutions may be able to help you evaluate your options and pursue a just solution in your case. We are committed to helping you and your spouse resolve as many disagreements and conflicts as possible and be your advocates as you work toward a smooth divorce.
In addition to addressing issues of property division, we can also help you with a variety of other divorce-related matters, including:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Debt division
- Mediation review
- Same-sex dissolution
- Spousal support
- Summary dissolution
- Uncontested dissolution