In divorce process, it is essential to understand the Spouses’ Separate Property. The main presumption under California law is that all assets and debts accumulated during marriage compose community property. If the couple is getting divorced and there is no prenuptial agreement, then all the property acquired during the marriage will be divided equally and equitably. However, each spouse may also have separate property.
What is Separate Property?
Each spouse’s separate property consists of property of a person acquired:
- before marriage,
- by a gift,
- as inheritance during the marriage.
Additionally, a spouse may include in his or her separate property goods he or she buys or exchanges for his or her separate property as well as earnings obtained due to any increase of the value of separate property. In order to prove the claim, the spouse must have financial records or other documents establishing his or her rights.
Moreover, California law classifies property acquired by spouses after the date of legal separation as separate property. Oftentimes, it becomes an issue to decide the date of separation. Generally, it is considered to be the date when one of the spouses decided to end their marriage. This action should demonstrate that the spouse is determined to end the marriage. For example Jessica tells that he does not love anymore Benjamin and she has a lover. After it, she takes all her belongings and moves to Benjamin. That is the date of separation of the spouses.
After legal separation, a couple may sign a written agreement which states their intention to divide their property. However, you should remember that separate property may become marital property in certain cases, for example:
- A spouse makes deposits to the other spouse account,
- Or a spouse makes some expenses on a property (i.e., a house) owned by his or her spouse.
How to Divide Assets in Practice?
In practice there are certain ways which allow spouses to divide assets:
- Assigning certain goods to each spouse,
- Giving an opportunity to one spouse to “buy out” the other’s assets,
- Selling assets and dividing money,
- Holding community property together even after the divorce.
Another big problem in the divorce process is the assignment of debts collected during the marriage, including car loans, mortgages, etc. If you have decided to divorce, you should take into consideration that it is not binding on creditors and they may still require to pay the debts from community property. If one spouse has debts, it is preferable to ask the court to put a lien on your spouse property as the security of payment.
In case you are in a complex property situation, the best option for you is to consult a California Family Attorney for advice. The Margarian Law Firm has vast experience in negotiating with the largest of the law firms to reach the best outcome of the case for our clients. Let our team of zealous consumer advocates provide you with the legal assistance you need and can trust! Do not delay to contact us to start preparing the security of your family today.
In addition, we are ready to provide answers to your initial questions concerning California Family Law for FREE.
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