The division of assets and debts is one of the biggest issues in every divorce. Spouses can divide assets by agreeing to award certain items to each spouse, allowing one spouse to buy-out the other’s share of the asset, or by selling the asset and equally dividing the proceeds. Spouses will also need to determine who will be responsible for debts incurred during the marriage, and after separation.
California is a community property state, meaning that all assets and debts acquired from the date of marriage until the date of separation is presumed jointly owned by the parties, and therefore divided equally, with few exceptions.
One such exception includes separate property: anything a spouse can prove he or she owned prior to marriage and continued to maintain separately during the marriage. This includes inheritances, gifts and property purchased during the marriage with funds from that spouse’s separate property.
However, distinguishing which assets belong to the community, and which are one spouse’s separate property is not always easily ascertainable. During the course of a marriage, assets can become mixed. Further, there are situations in which community property can transform into separate property, and vice versa. Identifying and valuing community property can be extremely contentious.
It is crucial to have zealous assistance of counsel when dividing your marital estate. The Law Offices of McPherson & Marquez has the skills and expertise necessary to properly classify and protect your share of assets and debts.