When ending a marriage, all of the property must be divided between the spouses. This can be complicated, depending on the nature of the assets, when the assets were acquired, and how and why the assets increased in value. There may also be an additional layer of complexity based on any emotional components — which is inevitable in most divorces.
In an ideal situation, spouses would resolve all property division issues on their own, amicably. Settlement conferences or mediation can be very useful for resolving any conflict. However, litiation may be necessary to resolve disputes durign divorce.
My firm, The Law Office of Jennifer C. Phillips, assists clients through the divorce process and helps them resolve their property division matters successfully.
Understanding Property Divisin in California
There are two types of property in any marriage: property that belongs to the individual and property that belongs to the couple, otherwise known as separate property and community property.
Separate property is anything owned prior to marriage such as personal property, inheritance, settlement proceeds or gifts.
Community property includes assets the couple acquires during the marriage. Also known as marital property, it includes business value increases and income from separate property that is generated during the marriage.
It seems straightforward, and in many cases, can be. But when there are issues regarding the value of assets and determining when and why an asset increased in value, the process is more difficult. I often utilize financial experts to assist in establishing property values, valuations and appraisals.
After the process of identifying property, I help clients divide it as fairly as possible, whether through settlement or litigation.