Divorce inevitably raises questions of property division. Before making any decisions, it is important to speak to a skilled family law attorney. With nearly 30 years of experience practicing law in California, San Diego divorce lawyer Roseline D. Feral will zealously advocate for your rights every step of the way. We are committed to providing each client with effective, strategic and compassionate representation.Division of Property in a Community Property State
California is a community property state, which means that there is a presumption that all property and debt acquired over the course of the marriage until the date of separation belongs equally to both spouses. Community property is subject to 50/50 division at the time of divorce. This does not necessarily mean that all items or bank accounts have to be divided exactly in half. Rather, the division should be fair. This typically means each spouse should get half the value of the total assets. For example, if the spouses own a home together, one spouse can “buy out” the other’s share of the asset. Alternatively, they could sell the house and divide the proceeds.
In contrast, separate property refers to any property that a spouse owned prior to the marriage, acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance, or gained after the spouses separated. Separate property also includes any rent or profit generated by a separate property asset. Since separate property belongs only to one spouse, that spouse gets to keep all of his or her separate property at the time of divorce.
In California, property division issues can be settled between parties through a signed Marital Settlement Agreement. If you and your spouse are unable to reach a settlement on division of marital property, California judges are given broad discretion in determining how to divide assets and assign debts. When awarding property, the court considers a number of factors including, but not limited to:
- The duration of the marriage;
- All property owned by each party prior to the marriage;
- The value of the property;
- The education level and earning capacity of each party;
- The contribution of each party during the marriage (i.e., financial, homemaker, etc.);
- The primary home of the children;
- Any other factor the court considers relevant.
Some assets are more difficult to divide than others. For example, retirement funds are community property if they accumulated over the marriage. To divide these funds, the property portion must be identified and divided in half. For example, if you started your job in 2009 and got married in 2012 and were separated in 2016, your spouse would be entitled to half the interest acquired in the retirement funds between 2012 and 2016.Consult a Divorce Attorney in San Diego to Understand Your Options
Property division can be an emotionally charged and contentious aspect of a divorce. Having a seasoned San Diego divorce attorney on your side can help you understand your rights and manage your expectations accordingly. We proudly serve clients from Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. For a case consultation, please email us or call our office at 619-232-1010. Alternatively, you may call Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191. We also assist clients seeking representation in criminal defense matters, including sexual offenses, DUIs, drug crimes, and theft crimes.