Understanding Property Division
Q: What is the difference between community property and separate property?
A: California is a community property state. Under this system of law, a marriage is viewed as a partnership where both husband and wife have equal ownership of all assets acquired during the marriage. Obligations incurred during the marriage, as well, are considered community debts, and both the husband and wife are equally responsible for their repayment. Property owned entirely by one spouse before, and possibly obtained during, marriage by gift or inheritance is considered separate property, and the other spouse has no ownership interest in it whatsoever. The law provides that community property may be converted into separate property and separate property into community property by an agreement in writing between the husband and wife.
When a married couple separates and decides to go forward with the dissolution of marriage, it is the duty of the court to determine the value of all community property and debts and divide them equally if the Parties cannot agree between themselves. The Court will determine if any separate property exists and, if so, confirm its ownership.
Q: What records / documents do I need to provide to my divorce attorney?
A: When you consider divorce, you may need to collect financial documents, such as:
- Retirement account statements
- Income tax returns
- Stock receipts
- Income statements
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Deeds and Titles to real estate property
These documents will be used during discussions about the distribution of your assets, and your divorce attorney needs to be aware of the amounts in order to effectively protect you. Having the documents before you file for divorce (San Diego County or anywhere in CA) can protect you from marital asset fraud. If your spouse tries to hide assets in a business or secret account, the documents may provide the evidence to establish the existence of a Breach of Fiduciary Duty and the funds for distribution.
In complex and high asset divorce cases, it becomes increasingly important to protect your assets. Renkin & Associates regularly works with experts who act as support staff to our knowledgeable family law practice attorneys. Our divorce attorneys exercise due diligence in the use of experts in many areas. We understand that complicated divorces will require additional support and expertise.
Q: What should I do to protect my businesses when I get a divorce?
A: When your divorce involves a business or a professional practice, we highly encourage you to contact a divorce attorney before you file. At Renkin & Associates, we handle divorces that require business valuations. We can help you evaluate your business income and profit to protect you and your business.
When you are dealing with the complexities of property and asset division during a divorce, you need legal advice on how to protect your assets and income. Contact Renkin & Associates at (619) 299-7100 or email us to schedule a case evaluation.