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California divorce attorneyLove and loyalty are not the only considerations made by couples considering divorce. Beyond issues of emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being, there is the question of wealth. Specifically, how are assets divided when spouses divorce in the state of California?

The answers to this question are complex and bear heavily on related matters of child support, spousal support, and the ownership of real property and personal property. Governing all such inquiries is California’s status as a “community property” state in matters of divorce. An experienced Cupertino divorce attorney will understand precisely how California’s community property laws will apply to the division of assets and liabilities in the event of a marriage’s dissolution.

The Marital Economic Community Is Relevant to a California Divorce

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Posted on in Property Division

California divorce lawyer, California family law attorneyDuring a divorce, everything that constitutes a marriage must split into two separate lives. While this is a natural process for some couples and even for select assets, for others, the disunion is much more complicated. Occasionally, the bond that ties the two may not ever be entirely separated, such as those with children. In other scenarios, the large assets of property division are where contentions arise. The most common question asked by couples struggling with the last scenario pertains directly to the most significant investment many couples make: who gets to keep the house?

What Is the Purchase Date of the Home?

Believe it or not, the purchase date, or closing date, of a home, can make a large difference as to who gets to keep the home. Consider that California is a community property state, meaning all items purchased and investments made during the marital union all belong to both parties equally as “community property.” Anything owned before the marriage began, after filing the divorce papers, or any items earned outside of the marriage, all are “separate property.” Separate property stays with the owner after the finalization of the divorce. However, this is not a certainty as other factors may play a factor, such as mortgage payments, improvements, and maintenance. Occasionally, a separate property home becomes community property with the right investments.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_property-division_20170314-152211_1.jpgCalifornia is one of the many no-fault divorce states, meaning that no grounds for divorce are required to exist other than one party believing the marriage is beyond repair. Fault states are no longer common and the ones that still require grounds for a divorce require the couple to prove that a spouse did something wrong. In these situations, the faulty party suffered during litigation, especially with property division and custody concerns. Which of the divorcing parties is to blame no longer plagues courts in no-fault divorce states.

How does the court divide the community property?

If fault does not exist, how does one side “win” a divorce litigation case? In states such as California, there is no clear “winner” or “loser”. Even if evidence of adultery or abandonment are brought to the attention of the court, legally this evidence is irrelevant to the case and is not typically considered in the division of community property. A judge determines what is “fair and equitable” by considering all of the debts and assets within the community property, the property attained during the tenure of the marriage. What community property assets and debts is the question. The community property and debts are equally divided between the parties.

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California divorce attorney, California mediation lawyerWhen a pet-owning couple goes through a divorce, which spouse retains custody of the animals can be a contentious issue. While many people consider pets to be part of the family, California law considers pets to be property.

California has many laws on child custody, but it has no laws that specifically govern what happens to pets when owners divorce. For this reason, a court will not rule on a custody agreement for animals the way it would if there are children involved. Instead, it may consider the pet to be an asset of the marriage, much the same way a car or computer would be considered.

Because of this, many people find that mediation is a better way to resolve pet custody issues. With mediation, the parties are not bound to treat their divorce the same way a court would. In mediation, a pet would not automatically be classified as property. Rather, a pet’s best interest and well-being could be considered. In a mediation, a pet would be treated as a member of the family who is also affected by the changes that come with divorce.

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California divorce attorney, California mediation lawyerYour marriage is coming to an end. No matter how long it lasted, this portion of your life changed you. You built a life together, no matter the condition of it. Now you are returning to the single life but a little older, maybe some children, and maybe some items. To get there, all the life that you created needs to be systematically divided. For business owners, there is the additional duty to divide up the company. Will you go into your new life with or without a business?

Business Acquisition

There is no “one size fits all” solution to any property division during divorce. What works for one family will not function for another. Each household situation is as unique and different as a thumbprint. However, there are guidelines and stipulations that a judge would follow, should your divorce require litigation. Most of the emphasis is placed on the acquisition of the asset itself. In the case of a business entity, it is more than just who purchased it and at what point in the marriage it was acquired. Consideration is given to:

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Los Gatos, CA 95030

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