Every California divorce involves the division of marital property, a process that is stressful on many levels. On a practical level, dividing up what you and your spouse own can bring up financial worries: will you have enough to start over after the divorce? Property division also has an emotional impact; the prospect of losing treasured items is a tangible reminder of more personal losses you are going through.
The lawyer you work with in your divorce makes a difference not only to the outcome of your property division, but to your experience of the process of splitting up marital assets and debts. At Roberts & Zatlin, we work with you to achieve a fair property division that meets your needs, and we dedicate ourselves to making the process as easy as possible for you so you can start your life after divorce with confidence.
As you are probably aware, California is a “community property” state. What exactly does that mean? Essentially, it means that when two people get married, they become a legal community of two. While they are married, any asset or debt that either member of the community acquires belongs to the entire community. Assets can be money, tangible property like houses and cars, retirement accounts, and even intangible things like patents or the goodwill in a family business.
Each spouse is considered to own one half of the marriage’s community property, and to be responsible for one half of the community debt. If you lived in a non-community property state during your marriage, property you acquired there is considered “quasi-community” and would be divided in a California divorce just like community property.
Some property that you own is considered “separate” property, not subject to division in a divorce. This includes gifts or inheritance received by one spouse during the marriage, or property either spouse owned before the marriage. This property might be treated like community property in a divorce if it is commingled, or mixed in, with marital property. There is also property that is partly separate, and partly marital. An example would be a retirement account at work that you started to pay into before the marriage, and kept doing so afterward.
As you can see, the process of deciding what property needs to be divided, what it is worth, and who should receive what can be complicated. You and your spouse can reach an agreement about property division on your own, or let the court decide. Even if you do reach your own agreement, a judge will have to sign off on it before it becomes binding. Either way, it is helpful to have the representation of an experienced California property division attorney.
Attorney Kim Roberts concentrates her legal practice in California family law. She has over 30 years of legal experience. She has represented numerous clients in divorce and property division cases, including those involving significant or complex assets or prenuptial agreements. Kim understands the complexities of California property division, and will help you negotiate an advantageous settlement agreement whenever possible. She is also a skilled litigator who can represent you effectively in court if you are unable to reach a settlement
The Roberts & Zatlin Law Firm, located in Murrieta, serves clients in Temecula, Menifee, Hemet, Sun City, Wildomar, Winchester, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, Vista, San Diego, and throughout the Inland Valley. We invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs regarding California property division. We look forward to working with you.