What’s Involved In Property Division In Divorce?

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediator;s California divorce mediatorsThe end of a marriage is never a good feeling, especially for the people involved. The dissolution of the matrimonial bond between two people is governed by laws that differ around the globe. The legal process that follows a divorce may involve the following issues:

  • Alimony or spousal support.
  • Child custody.
  • Child visitation rights.
  • Child support.
  • Property division.
  • Debt division.

Property division

Following the separation of a married couple, their assets are split between them. This division is carried out in agreement or via a judicial decree. The spouses are entitled to split the property acquired during the course of their marriage following the dissolution of their union.

The marital property is jointly owned by the spouses until a final order has been issued by a judge. The spouses are advised to divide their property and debt equally to avoid altercations; however, most cases do not end so peacefully.

How to split your property

If you are in the process of a divorce and need to split your assets, the first thing you should do is create a list of all that you own. This will help you understand which items qualify as marital property and separate property. If you are living in Orange County, California, and are looking to get a divorce, you will need to fill out a Schedule of Assets and Debts form as part of a “Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure,” where you will list out their assets. This form must be shared with your spouse while you are disclosing financial declarations. This is a mandatory issue for legal separations and divorces.

You are advised to remain honest while you list out your assets and while categorizing them as separate and matrimonial property. The penalties for withholding information regarding your assets can be serious.

Once your spouse and you have filled out your respective forms, you can compare details to learn if – your spouse and you disagree on what has been categorized as matrimonial or separate property or there is a large difference in how you have valued the matrimonial property. If you are in agreement, then you can settle the case with your spouse easily enough, but in case you disagree, you will have to go to trial. The judge will then make a decision and issue a final order.

You are also allowed to buy out your spouse’s share of the marital property if you have the financial capabilities. Spouses are also allowed to jointly own a property together even after they have legally separated, but this will need for the couple to maintain a financial relationship, which can make it a very unattractive option.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”