Los Angeles Divorce Attorney Serving Clients with Property Division, Spousal Support, Child Custody, and Child Support Issues
When you file for a divorce in California, you and your spouse must either decide how to divide your assets or the court will do it for you. This creates a very stressful and tense situation, and often couples do not see eye-to-eye. If you are unable to mutually agree on how to divide your property, your case will be placed on the contested divorce calendar. Contested divorce cases are typically drawn out and very time-consuming. A competent divorce attorney can help you understand your property rights in California in order to advocate for these rights in divorce court.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Kourosh Pourmorady understand how important your property is to you. We will help you protect your property in a divorce by assisting you with negotiating a marital property agreement with your spouse, educating you on how to protect your property, and fighting for your best interests. Our law firm has been dedicated to serving lower income and minority communities in the greater Los Angeles area. No case is too small, and no income is too low. We promise to deliver proficient and holistic representation, maintain constant communication with you about your case, and provide you with a customized and personal experience that is targeted to your needs. Call The Law Offices of Kourosh Pourmorady today at (866) 666-6529 for a free initial divorce consultation.
Property Division in California
California is a community property state. This means that all property acquired by a couple during a marriage becomes community property. Community property, also known as marital property, is property that is jointly owned by the couple. Each spouse has a 50% ownership interest in the property. When the couple files for divorce, the couple must determine how to divide this property.
Some property can be easily divided into two. Bank account balances, retirement accounts, and investment income can be halved cleanly. However, most physical property, such as houses and cars, cannot.
The property division process requires three steps:
- Differentiating between community property and separate property
- Determining the value of any community property
- Dividing the community property
At each step, the couple may encounter difficulties. Assets acquired prior to the marriage are usually considered separate property in California. However, separate property can become community property through commingling. For instance, if one spouse purchases a house prior to the marriage but both spouses pay the mortgage during the marriage, this separate property may become community property.
Some items of community property are hard to put values on. While a joint bank account balance has a very obvious value, other assets such as art collections may be harder to quantify.
The most conflict occurs during the final stage – division of community property. Most physical property like houses cannot be cut in half and delivered separately to the spouses. Instead, the couple needs to find a compromise that recognizes each spouse’s ownership interest in the property. If they are unable to do so, a court will divide the property for them.
One way of dividing physical property is to sell the property and split the proceeds of the sale. Another way is for one spouse to retain physical control of the property and to “buy out” the other spouse. The buy out could be in the form of cash or relinquishing ownership interest in other property of the same value.
Settlement Agreements Versus Court Division
A marital settlement agreement or property settlement agreement is a clean way to divide and distribute debts and assets. A settlement agreement will list out all debts and assets, assign certain debts or assets to a spouse, and then devise ways of dividing other assets. The parties may go through an arbitrator or may negotiate through attorneys to arrive at the final agreement. The agreement is signed and dated by both parties and filed with the divorce petition. When the divorce is finalized, the agreement becomes part of the divorce decree. This method is associated with uncontested divorces.
If your divorce is contested, however, you will likely litigate the property division in court, and the judge will decide how to divide your debts and assets. The judge may order mediation to encourage the parties to work together to develop an amicable solution. Many contested divorces take years to conclude, and often times, the court’s final decision regarding property division leaves both parties unsatisfied.
California Property Division Attorney Prepared to Answer Your Divorce Questions
If you are undergoing a difficult divorce and worry about how to protect your valuable assets from your spouse, you need a competent and experienced divorce attorney to counsel you on which assets are subject to property division and how to protect your ownership interests. The Law Offices of Kourosh Pourmorady has over 47 combined years of experience representing Los Angeles clients in court. We are passionate about our clients’ cases, and we understand how important your property is to you. Call The Law Offices of Kourosh Pourmorady today at (866) 666-6529 to discuss your property division issue.