Complex Property Division: Navigating a Fair Settlement

May 10, 2023
By Alternative Divorce Solutions

Complex property division in a divorce is often one of the most contentious parts of the process. If you are going through a divorce, you are most likely concerned about the distribution of your property and how to distribute property and assets you acquired over the course of your marriage. At Alternative Divorce Solutions, our attorneys can help you to develop a strategic plan to fairly divide your property.

How Is Property Divided in a California Divorce?

As a community property state, California requires couples to split all assets and property acquired during marriage equally. This includes money earned by either spouse during the marriage and property purchased with those earnings. It also encompasses debts incurred during marriage.

Married individuals can still own separate property outside of their marital property. This includes inheritances and property purchased by one spouse before the marriage.

Understanding Property Settlement Agreements

A property settlement agreement is a written contract between a married couple that outlines how property division will be handled. It is essentially a who gets what document. The following marital assets are included and subject to division:

  • Investment portfolios
  • Retirement accounts, including 401(k)s and IRAs
  • Real estate holdings, including the marital homes, vacation homes, and any vacation or investment properties
  • Stock options
  • Business interests
  • Art collection
  • Jewelry
  • Cars

High asset divorces involve complex property and asset distribution as well as the help of certified professionals who can conduct formal appraisals and valuations. These professionals may include business valuation experts, real estate appraiser, accountants, and financial advisors. An accountant can help you determine any tax implications associated with the process.

Date of Separation: How Debt Is Determined

The date of separation determines how debt is divided in a California divorce. The debts incurred by each spouse after the couple is separated are the sole responsibility of that spouse. Under California law, separation is determined by the following:

Physical separation

The spouses must be living separate and apart from one another.

Intent to end the marriage

The couple must prove that the separation was made with the intent to terminate the marriage.

How to Divide a Mortgage

Dividing a mortgage is another complex issue couples will need to figure out. The couple can decide to put the house on the market and split the proceeds or one spouse can buy out the other and take on the responsibility of mortgage payments. When property gets commingled, such as where one spouse purchased a home before marriage, but the other made payments to the mortgage, the issue gets more complicated. It is in your best interests to consult with an experienced attorney to determine your best options.

Call us at 949-368-2121 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.


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