The Men’s Legal Center
San Diego Property Division Lawyers
When a divorce begins and the process moves forward, one of the most central requirements that must be met before a marriage can be dissolved is dividing the marital estate. This is commonly known as property division, and it is a process that can be extremely complicated and contentious between the parties. If you are facing the end of your marriage, you need to seek the help of San Diego property division lawyers as soon as possible for many reasons. Below is a brief overview of how California property division works.
The Steps Involved with Dividing the California Marital Estate
There are generally three steps involved with properly dividing property in California in a divorce case. Since California is a community property state, there is at least one extra step involved when compared to jurisdictions that do not follow this legal doctrine. They appear below:
- Definition – The first step towards dividing property in California is defining which property is community property and which property is separate property. Generally, assets acquired during the marriage are seen as community property while assets already owned by the parties prior to marriage are seen as separate property.
- Valuation – After the community property has been defined, a value must be placed on it so that the process of dividing it equally can begin.
- Division – Finally, after the first two steps are completed, the property is divided as equally as possible between the spouses.
Problems That Arise with California Property Division
Unfortunately, in many cases, the process of dividing the marital estate is not nearly as simple as completing the three steps above. Certain types of property cannot be divided equally, such as a home, and other assets may lead to a disagreement as to whether said asset should be part of the marital estate or should be classified as separate property.
In addition to the assets of a marital estate, the liabilities must also be divided, and the most common type of debt that must be dealt with one way or the other is a mortgage. Generally, debts are split as evenly as possible with an eye on the financial positions of each spouse after the divorce is complete and income is being generated separately.
Therefore, as a practical result, courts are sometimes required to be creative in dividing an estate, as no two sets of assets and liabilities are ever exactly alike. If you face this situation, you need to take immediate steps to organize your information so that you can retain all of the value you deserve under California law. Contact the San Diego property division lawyers at the Men’s Legal Center today to schedule an initial consultation.