Divorce and dividing the marital property
When a marriage starts heading toward divorce, the spouses know that they will be experiencing significant changes. The plans that they had made for the future will now be different, and this can leave some individuals feeling extremely confused and hurt. These feelings often creep into the divorce proceedings, which can make an already difficult time much worse.
As part of a divorce, the couple will need to come to an agreement on the division of marital property. In California, this can be somewhat complicated, as community property rules apply. This means that all of the assets and debts that a couple received while married are considered marital property, and therefore, must be divided equally between the spouses.
The challenges arise because the spouses may fight over the status of certain property. Gifts or inheritances made only to one of the spouses can be excluded from the pool of marital property, and it may take some analysis to determine if those exclusions will apply.
Additionally, if one of the spouses brought significant assets into the marriage, it may be necessary to determine the portion of the asset’s value that it subject to division. This can be very complicated, and require the use of financial professionals. This is especially important if the couple owns a business together.
Some couples may sign a prenuptial agreement, which could have a major impact upon their divorce. These agreements state what would happen to the couple’s assets if the relationship does not work out. Each side is allowed to have an attorney review the document prior to signing, which ensures that they understand what they would be giving up in a divorce.
Property division is one of the more challenging aspects of a divorce. Couples need to know that once the division is final, courts are reluctant to change the orders unless fraud is present. It is important that you have someone who can protect the property that is yours. Speak to an experienced family law attorney as soon as you start considering filing for divorce.
An attorney can help you prepare for the entire process, so that you are ready if your divorce ends up becoming contentious. This allows you to gather all of the financial information you need to support your claims prior to filing, because your soon-to-be ex-spouse may not be willing to turn this over once the divorce begins.