The Steps Involved in Property Division During Divorce

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Division of property lawyers Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsProperty division is one of the most crucial aspects related to divorce or legal separation settlements. California community property law states that all the property and debts acquired by the couple during marriage should be divided equally between the two in the event of a legal separation or divorce. Many times, the couple reaches a mutual agreement regarding the property and debt division, whereas in some cases, the couple needs to take the help of a court of law to decide upon a fair decision.Irrespective of whether you decide upon the division yourself or request a court judgment for it, the property division process comprises of three crucial steps.

Determining the property as community or separate 

As per the Californian law, it is presumed that all of the property and debt which is accumulated by the couple during their marriage is termed as community property and belongs to both of them equally. On the other hand, the property acquired by either of the spouses before the marriage or within the marriage in the form of a gift or inheritance is referred to as separate property. In addition to this, a property acquired by a partner after the date of separation up until the date of divorce will also be termed as separate property. There are several types of property such as a retirement account, or an operational business, which are regarded as partially community and partially separate.

Determining the value of the property 

In order to evaluate the actual worth of the property, either the couple or the court of law is attributed with the task of assigning a specific monetary value to each of the items. For establishing the present worth of antiques, artwork or real estate, appraisals can be performed by professionals. More complex property items such as retirement assets will need to be evaluated by more knowledgeable professionals such as a CPA or an actuary.

Division of the property 

The couple can proceed with the actual division by allotting the items to each partner, by buying out the other partner’s share of the property or by selling off the assets and equally sharing the proceeds. In some cases, the couple might even agree to jointly hold the possession of the property even after a legal separation. For example, a couple might wish to hold onto a family residence until their kids complete their school.

Property division can be an extremely complex process.  To learn more it, about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation