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Dividing a Marital Estate in a California Divorce

marital estate division in california

When you decide to divorce, you must go through the process of dividing the marital estate. Because California is a “community property state,” there is an extra step involved when compared to states that do not follow this legal doctrine. There are typically three steps involved in dividing property in a California divorce, including:

  • Definition– The first step when dividing property in California is defining which property is “community property” and which is “separate property.”  Assets that were acquired during the marriage are typically seen as community property while assets that were already owned by the parties before the marriage are seen as separate property.
  • Valuation– Once the community property has been defined, you must place a value on it so you can begin the process of dividing it equally.
  • Division– Once the first two steps are complete, the property can be equally divided between the spouses.

When determining the value of the property and dividing it, consult with your divorce attorney to ensure you are receiving a fair settlement.

Problems During California Property Division

Though the process may seem straight forward, there are many cases in which the property division becomes complex. Some property types cannot be divided equally, such as the marital home, while other assets can lead to a disagreement as to whether they are part of the marital estate or separate property.

Along with assets, liabilities will also be divided. The most common type of liability is debt that must be divided and paid off. Typically, debts are split as evenly as possible, though the financial positions of each spouse after divorce is considered. If one spouse makes more money than the other, he or she might receive more of the debt.

Getting Help During the Property Division Process

The entire divorce process is complicated and stressful. To ensure your rights are protected and you get a fair deal, be sure to consult with a skilled and experienced divorce attorney. The team at Men’s Legal Center can organize your information so you retain all of the value you deserve under California divorce law. We thoroughly understand California divorce law and the property division process. Our team will walk you through each step of the process and ensure your rights are protected. Contact the San Diego property division attorneys at the Men’s Legal Center today for help.