Do Not Allow Divorce To Force You Out Of Your Home
Most people assume that because they reside in California, which is a community property state, that each party walks away with 50% of all the property. However, the division of property is quite a technical area of family law with numerous exceptions in equitable property division laws. Although the “community” may have gained an interest in an asset or property, it may very well be much less than 50%. The family residence is a perfect example. It is typically one of the largest individual assets that the parties will need to divide. However, simply because it was the family residence, does not mean the “marital community” owns the property on a 50/50 basis.
There are numerous issues to consider when dividing real property, such as how title is held; the source of the down payment; reimbursements; and any issues regarding wasting of the asset. Other assets such as retirement accounts, IRAs, 401(k) accounts, stocks, bonds, personal property, and other items of value also must be divided, and are likewise subject to many exceptions. Debts are treated the same as assets, and must also be divided equally. However, like assets, there are exceptions, as well as reimbursements for payments made toward a particular obligation with his separate property funds, which may affect the ultimate division.
It is of utmost importance that your attorney is well versed in the law and propounds the proper discovery to flesh out these issues and protect your interest. The difference between an attorney from VM and less-skilled attorney could literally cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. The division of such assets can be divided in-kind (each person getting the same number of shares of stock) or equalized (a value is established and the party receiving the asset would pay the other party half of that value).
Comprehensive And Rigorous Assistance In The Fair Division Of Assets
In dissolution matters involving large community estates, it is necessary to complete a comprehensive accounting of all assets involved in the marriage. This process begins with a thorough investigation during the discovery phase of the litigation. Using the information gathered, we work with appraisers and forensic accountants to correctly calculate community property and separate property interests. This is necessary for equitable division of the community’s assets upon finalization of the divorce.
If you suspect your spouse may have hidden assets or business relationships, you will need an attorney with the resources to investigate and trace unreported assets and income. Our office uses veteran private investigators to aid in the investigative process when the opposing party is attempting to conceal their income.
Equitable Solutions To The Division Of Retirement Funds And Assets
Retirement benefits earned during a marriage are considered community property and are subject to an equal division. Claiming or protecting retirement benefits is one of the most critical aspects of property division in California divorce cases. VM has the knowledge and experience to deal with complex retirement claims.
Available retirement funds may come from IRAs, 401ks, employee pension programs or other investments set aside as a means of providing retirement income. In cases where both spouses have retirement plans, they may agree to keep their own plan in its entirety by forfeiting any claim to the other spouse’s benefits. Once each party’s rights have been determined, a “qualified domestic relations order” (QDRO) must be prepared and filed to tell a plan’s administrator the amount of benefits that should be paid to the alternate payee.
If you need assistance with a property division matter, turn to the experienced team at Vorzimer/Masserman - Fertility & Family Law Center. Call our Woodland Hills office at (818) 999-1950 or send us an email to schedule a consultation.