Law Offices of Keith Banks offers legal assistance to residents of Yolo, Sacramento, Solano and Placer counties grappling with property division issues related to a separation or divorce.
Please be aware that you must already be involved in a family law case in order to file a request for property division order with the court.
Community Versus Separate Property
California law recognizes two types property during marriage: community property and separate property. Community property is defined under California law as any income earned or asset acquired by a married person while living with a spouse. Separate property, alternatively, is defined as anything acquired by either spouse before marriage, during the marriage by gift, devise, or bequest, or after separation. Under California law there is a presumption that any property acquired during a marriage is community property. The party wishing to challenge this presumption must provide evidence and prove to the court that certain property is separate.
How is Community Property Divided?
It is a common misconception that California law requires an “in kind” or 50/50 division of community property. In fact, the law only requires that the net value of the assets be equally divided. For example, should one spouse wish to retain sole possession of the former family residence, that spouse can forego taking other assets of similar value.
Generally, it is relatively simple to determine what property is community and what is separate. However, there are certain assets that can pose potential problems. These assets can include:
- A business owned and operated by one spouse both before marriage and both spouses worked on during marriage;
- Pre-marital property that each spouse contributed to during marriage.
Failure to properly divide these types of assets may lead to one spouse not receiving their fair share of the community assets. We are here to help ensure a proper division of these types of assets.
How is Property Valued?
Parties can disagree, often vehemently, over the value of certain assets. If parties cannot agree on the value, the court can assign one. The solution might be expert appraisers. These appraisers can be brought in to value everything from real property to artwork or jewelry. Expert actuaries can ensure that retirement accounts are properly valued and divided through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO.