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Los Gatos divorce attorney for division of real estateThe divorce process can be an emotional and challenging time for all parties involved. Difficult financial decisions will need to be made as you separate from your spouse, and one of the most significant issues involves who will own your family’s home. Your marital home is likely to be one of the most valuable assets you own, and it can play a key role in the division of marital property. It is important to understand how California’s divorce laws address the division of residential property, and you should work with a family law attorney to determine the best way to proceed throughout the divorce process. 

Dividing Real Estate Property

As you work through the divorce process with your attorney, there are a number of critical steps you need to take regarding your residential property. First and foremost, you must establish whether the home is separate or community property. In the state of California, most assets and debts accumulated by either spouse during a marriage are community property, and they must be divided equally between spouses. However, assets received by one spouse as a gift or inheritance are typically considered separate property. Property purchased after the couple has separated, but prior to the divorce, is also regarded as separate property that will not need to be divided between spouses 

It should also be noted that property purchased or acquired prior to a marriage is generally considered separate property. However, a home that was separate property can become community property if the spouses agree to to redefine the asset or if it became commingled with community property during the marriage, such as when both spouses consistently made mortgage payments or shared other expenses related to the home. 

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Los Gatos, CA divorce attorney for hidden assetsGetting a divorce can be a challenging time in your life. The process of permanently separating from your spouse is difficult enough, but addressing complex matters related to marital assets and child custody can make things even more grueling. While many divorces can be resolved amicably (including through divorce mediation), some spouses will look to do anything and everything they can to spite their former partner during divorce proceedings. One of the most common forms of foul play that can occur during divorce is hiding assets. If you believe that your spouse is attempting to conceal marital property, you will want to work with a family law attorney to determine your options. 

What Are Hidden Assets? 

In the state of California, all assets owned by a married couple are considered community property. In other words, any property accumulated during a marriage belongs to both spouses, barring a prenuptial agreement that states otherwise. If a spouse attempts to devalue an asset or conceal property from their spouse and the court, this is known as hiding assets. 

Hidden assets can come in various forms, but they are rarely as simple as concealing a physical item in a place where the other spouse cannot find it. Some of the most common forms of hidden assets include intentionally avoiding reporting income through tax returns or financial statements, setting up a secret bank account (which may be done through the use of a child’s social security number), or requesting that an employer delay paying wages and bonuses until after the divorce process is finalized. 

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CA divorce lawyerCouples who are planning to get married are not likely to be thinking about divorce. However, taking the time to consider how certain matters will be handled if their relationship ever ends can save them a great deal of difficulty in the future. By creating a prenuptial agreement, a couple can make decisions about issues such as the division of property or spousal support, ensuring that their rights and financial security will be protected, no matter what happens in the years to come. Here are some benefits that a prenuptial agreement can provide:

Protecting assets - California is a community property state, which means that property owned by married spouses must be divided equally during divorce. A prenuptial agreement can specify each spouse’s ownership rights to any property owned by a spouse prior to getting married or acquired by married spouses. This can be especially helpful when one or both spouses own business interests since an agreement can determine how business ownership will be handled and ensure that the business can remain operational after divorce.

Assigning responsibility for debts - If either spouse has significant debt, a prenuptial agreement can make decisions about who will be responsible for this debt after divorce. It may also specify how the spouses’ incomes will be allocated to pay for debt during their marriage.

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California divorce lawyerIn many cases of divorce in California, it is possible for divorcing spouses to avoid litigation and retain control over decision-making with regard to the division of marital property and establishing of parenting time with children. In some instances, however, it is not possible to reach a fair and mutually agreeable resolution, whether because of anger, resentment, greed, or other conflict-escalating emotions.

In high-asset divorces, particularly, there may disagreements over the division of marital property. In a California divorce, division must abide by the state’s community property law, which determines what constitutes the “marital economic community” in a marriage. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse is arguing for unfair division of marital property, claiming as separate property what is, in fact, the community property of the marriage, turn to an experienced Sunnyvale divorce attorney.

California Is One of Nine Community Property Law States

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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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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212
Los Gatos, CA 95030

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