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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_mediation_20171101-034651_1.jpgCalifornia custody lawyerTelevision and film are rich with depictions of litigation, courtrooms, and righteous legal prose. In film, there are the many adaptations of novels written by author John Grisham, including The Firm, The Client, and The Pelican Brief, among others. On television, there are How to Get Away With Murder, Suits, and, perhaps the all-time most well-known show, Law and Order. A common thread among all these many narratives is the element of confrontation.

The reason for this commonality is the adversarial nature of litigation. Whether between a state prosecutor and a local criminal defense attorney or between a tort litigator and the defense counsel in a civil court, the parties are fighting for the outcome that best serves their interests. As human beings, we are wired to be interested in competition and conflict in the social world, as these activities have much to with power – a resource central to so many of the activities of society, whether in the U.S. or abroad. An experienced Los Gatos mediation attorney, however, knows that mediation and compromise may succeed where competition and conflict fail.

Bay Area Wealth and Property Values Bear on Matters of Mediation

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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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Posted on in Family Law

California divorce attorney, California mediation lawyerA rising number of couples are turning to in vitro fertilization for child conception. Many use this methodology to conceive after years of difficulty. Recent scientific studies show that IVF significantly increases the likelihood of conception. Meanwhile, other future parents choose this alternative as a way to preserve their ability for when they are more financially stable and able to care for their beloved child. However, a lot can happen between the egg retrieval and the time at which the eggs are utilized. Sometimes, couples need to go their separate ways through divorce litigation or mediation. Do these frozen embryos qualify for custody arrangements or property division?

Why Is This an Issue?

There currently is no legislation in California regarding the usage of embryos after a divorce. The downfall to this is that each court then must decide the outcome based simply on the facts of the case, without taking into consideration the emotional or physical needs of either individual. As an embryo is a fertilized egg, meaning it has DNA donated from each biological parent, and many fertility clinics require a contract from both sides before completion of the procedure. There is often a clause in this contract indicating what to do with the embryos in the event of a divorce. Unfortunately, we are not all born with the capabilities of seeing into the future, and at the point of signing, these two individuals are often so full of every other emotion, divorce is not the forefront option. Within many of these contracts, couples readily agree to destroy the embryos should a divorce occur.

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