Division of Assets And Debts
In California divorce cases, dividing up assets and debts can be a complicated matter. It requires a valuation of the property or other assets, such as a business, and a determination of how the debts and assets of a couple should be split between the parties. During a divorce, the parties must either ask the court to determine how to divide their properties and debts — or have the court do it for them.
At Madden & Associates, our team of experienced legal professionals is skilled at working with experts to determine the appropriate value of assets. Using our knowledge of California law and the facts of the case, we can then make an argument to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome. To schedule a consultation with a skilled Upland family law attorney, contact our office today at (909) 581-8390 or fill out our online form.
Property Division in California Divorce Cases
California is a community property state, which means that both assets and debts that spouses acquire during marriage belong equally to both of them and must be divided equally during a divorce. Martial property is subject to division in a divorce. Non-marital property is usually separated from the couple’s assets and will not be considered. Assets are not limited to real estate or personal property like cars. It can include stock options, valuable antiques, business interests, retirement accounts or pensions, and professional practices.
The first step in dividing assets and debts in a California divorce case is determining whether the property or debt is marital or separate. There is a strong presumption in California law that the assets and debts acquired during marriage are community, or marital, property. However, there are complex rules governing community property. Understanding these rules is critical to obtaining a fair division of assets during a divorce, which is why it is so vital to hire a seasoned Upland family law attorney.
Some examples of separate (non-marital) property include assets acquired before marriage, or those acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage. In addition, property that is acquired after the date of separation but before the divorce is considered separate property. There are situations where separate property can become community property, such as by commingling separate property with marital property. This is another reason why consulting with a skilled Upland family law attorney if you are contemplating is a smart move. A lawyer can help you make decisions regarding your property to protect yourself and your assets.
The next step in division of assets involves determining the value of the community assets. This is typically done through an appraisal for assets such as real estate. For more complex assets such as retirement accounts, investments and other holdings, experts such as actuaries, C.P.A.s or other financial professionals may be necessary.
Once a value has been assigned to each community asset, spouses can either agree to a division of assets and debts, or allow a court to make the determination for them. Courts can use a variety of methods to split up assets, such as ordering the parties to sell a piece of property, or awarding an asset to one spouse and giving the other spouse an item of equivalent value. Courts can also decide how to divide debts or liabilities, such as mortgages, car loans, and credit card debts. If a couple has jointly acquired debt during a marriage, they will often be required to split it equally in a divorce.
As with other community property assets, businesses are subject to division in a divorce. This includes both professional practices and privately-held businesses. To determine the value of a business, California courts look to four factors:
- The value of the business’ fixed assets;
- The value of the business’ accounts receivable and other intangible assets;
- The business’ goodwill; and
- The business’ outstanding debts and goodwill.
This valuation is typically determined through a private appraisal. A court may also look at other factors to arrive at the business’ fair market value, such as the business’ earning capacity. This will then be used as part of the asset division process.
If your divorce case involves a business, you will need a knowledgeable Upland family law attorney who can work collaboratively with a team of financial experts to appropriately value the business. Your lawyer should be able to craft a highly personalized strategy to protect the business that you have built, based on California law and the methods of valuation and property division utilized by the courts.
Asset Division Attorney in Upland, California
When it comes to the division of assets, there are many factors to be considered. An experienced Upland family law attorney can work with you to make sure that (1) the assets are correctly labeled as either community or separate; (2) the assets are correctly valued; and (3) the assets and debts are equitably divided.
At Madden & Associates, we are skilled at all phases of property division in a divorce, including business valuation. Whether you are just considering divorce or are in litigation, we can advise you about how to best protect your financial interests. We will also make aggressive arguments based on California law about whether certain assets should be subject to division. If you would like to learn more about how James Madden can assist you with property division in a California divorce case, contact our office today at (909) 581-8390 or fill our online form to schedule an initial consultation.
Asset Division Attorney in Upland, California
If you want to protect your financial interests during a divorce or breakup, Madden & Associates can help. Our team of dedicated professionals has substantial experience helping clients obtain favorable child or spousal support orders. Attorney James Madden will thoroughly investigate the facts of your case, and apply California law to advocate for the best possible outcome. To schedule a consultation with a seasoned Upland family law attorney, contact Madden & Associates at (909) 581-8390 or fill our online form anytime.