In most marriages, husband and wife acquire assets and incur debt. During a divorce or legal separation, these assets and debts must be divided. How these assets and debts are divided may have an immediate and long term impact on the parties. It is therefore important that the utmost attention is given to how the assets and debts are divided.
Dividing Community Property
California is a community property state which means there is a presumption that any asset or debt acquired during marriage until the date of separation is that of the community or community property. However, if assets or debts have been acquired prior to marriage, acquired after the date of separation, acquired by gift or inheritance, or transmuted or transferred during marriage from community to separate property it may be considered the spouse’s separate property. Therefore, when dividing marital property, one of the first issues that must be determined is whether an asset or debt is community or separate property. To determine this we look at when the asset or debt was acquired or transferred. This is called “time of acquisition” and plays significant role in determining the character of the property. Also, if a spouse obtained an advantage by the transfer from community to separate property or separate to community property, it may have an impact of the character of the property. Some property may have both a separate property and a community property interest and therefore a determination of both interests is needed.
Value of Assets and Property
The valuation of assets must occur before an asset is divided. Unless the parties can agree as to the value the court may look to experts or other sources to determine the value of an asset. Some valuation of assets is more difficult than others such as business, real estate, stock options or pensions. These assets may need experts such as accountants, realtors, appraisers and actuaries to determine their value.
Steven L. Fritsch, Esq. has much experience regarding the division of assets and debts. He has the knowledge and understanding of the laws associated with dividing property and what is needed to obtain an equitable division. Not only has he negotiated numerous property settlements but he also has the litigation experience to present and argue your property issues in court. Please contact The Law Office of Steven L. Fritsch to discuss the valuation, characterization and division of community and separate property assets.