Riverside Property Division Lawyers
Family law matters can be some of the most emotionally challenging legal issues anyone faces. Many of the most emotionally heated family law disputes revolve around property division in divorce. Every state has unique laws when it comes to property division in divorce. California has a notoriously strict community property law that dictates how property is divided in a divorce. While family law is not designed to be adversarial, division of property can create acrimony and conflict. It is one of the most heavily litigated aspects of divorce, a process people already do not want to be in.
At the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey, we streamline the divorce process to expedite matters and allow our clients to move on with their lives. However, when disputes over assets, debts and pensions arise, the most efficient and effective of legal processes can become painful and vindictive. An experienced Riverside divorce attorney with experience in property division is your best ally. We can help you handle the entire divorce process with more confidence, develop a stronger case for establishing your ownership rights over certain properties and assets, and ultimately help to guide you to a more satisfactory outcome with your divorce case.
A Dedicated And Detail-Oriented San Bernardino Community Property Attorney
When you are expecting a heated dispute over property division in your divorce case, it’s essential to have a legal representative who can guide you to a reasonable resolution and secure the property you rightfully own under California state law. The team at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey have years of practical experience successfully handling difficult property division cases of all kinds. Whether you are bracing for a high net worth divorce with complex investments, have concerns about inheritance and separate property, or need help discerning among assets that have been shared for decades, we can help.
We take an individualized approach to divorce representation. We understand how frustrating property division disputes can be for everyone involved. Our goal is to accurately assess your property rights under California state law and develop a compelling case that ensures you receive the property you’re legally due in your divorce. You can rely on our firm for responsive communication and timely updates on your legal proceedings at every phase of your divorce case.
What Is Community Property in California?
Community property law governs the division of assets in California divorce courts. All property acquired during the marriage belong to the couple equally and should be divided as such. This includes items bought with community funds, including commingled funds in a joint bank account. Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after separation, or property purchased during the marriage with separate funds. Those assets are not part of community property.
The community property statutes in California are quite strict, with little room for interpretation. No matter what led to the divorce, the court will aim for a completely even 50/50 division of the divorcing couple’s community property. This includes shared debts, and both divorcing spouses will maintain joint liability for shared debts following divorce, or they may need to effectively trade responsibilities for certain debts to ensure a 50/50 division of debt liability.
Potential Alternative to Community Property Distribution in Divorce
In the event you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are willing to negotiate the terms of your divorce, you may be able to reach a mutual agreement and decide the division of your property between yourselves rather than leaving the decision up to the court. Divorce mediation is an effective way to achieve a divorce agreement quickly and comprehensively. No one knows your marriage better than you and your spouse, so the two of you collaborating and negotiating will be much faster than litigation.
Divorce mediation is a relatively straightforward process. You and your Riverside property division attorney will meet with your spouse, their legal representative, and a neutral third-party mediator. This mediator’s job is to guide negotiations, answer any legal questions the divorcing spouses might have, and keep the conversation moving in a constructive direction. Mediation may only take a few sessions for the couple to reach a mutually agreeable solution to their property division problem.
During property division negotiations, a divorcing couple may effectively trade some assets for others. For example, if one of the spouses really wants to keep the marital home instead of selling it and splitting the proceeds, they may offer other assets equal to half the value of the home, effectively “buying out” the other spouse’s share of the property that would otherwise be subject to community property division. The couple can more easily and accurately address their unique property division questions based on personal preference instead of leaving it up to impersonal and rigid legal statutes.
Separate Property in California
California’s community property statute excludes certain property from community property division in divorce. This separate property usually includes a spouse’s property that they possessed before marrying or assets they inherited from blood relatives such as parents and grandparents. It’s vital to establish your ownership rights over your separate property to ensure they do not become subject to community property division in divorce proceedings.
California law also has statutes concerning separate property and how it may transmute into community property under certain conditions. For example, imagine one spouse owned a business prior to marrying. After marriage, the new spouse joins the company and helps the business improve productivity, thereby boosting its profitability. If the couple divorces, the second spouse may have a legal right to the business as community property due to the effort and time they contributed toward helping the business succeed. An experienced Riverside property division attorney can help you determine whether business assets or other separate property may qualify as community property in your divorce case.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
You might think that you and your spouse are reasonable enough to negotiate the terms of your divorce on your own, but it’s a good idea to hire an attorney for legal guidance. This is especially true if your spouse has hired their own attorney. You may think you can reach a reasonable and satisfactory conclusion to your marriage without legal counsel. However, you may overlook key details that make a significant difference in the outcome of property division in your divorce.
While negotiating your divorce terms, you may think that your spouse’s suggested trade of assets is in your best interests, but it may incur tax penalties you do not want to handle in the future. Your attorney can help you assess the tax implications of the property division agreement you develop with your spouse, and the mediator should be able to offer valuable tax-related insights to the couple’s questions during property division negotiations.
If you are unable to negotiate property division with your spouse, then your case will move to the litigation process and become subject to California’s community property laws. This could mean being forced to sell your marital home, agree to an alimony arrangement you could have avoided, or secure fewer assets than you may have negotiated through mediation. Your attorney will help you gather any evidence you will need for the litigation process to prove your ownership rights over certain assets.
Property division and community property laws are complex. Protect your property interests with the help of Riverside property division attorney Catherine A. Schwartz, especially if your spouse has retained legal counsel. She is a seasoned lawyer who possesses the hands-on experience, training and ongoing legal knowledge to present facts and compelling arguments to divorce courts.
Contact The Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey For A Free Consultation
For more information, contact the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey at 951-686-8190 to schedule a free initial consultation. Our office is located in Riverside. For the convenience of our clients, we accept appointments in the evenings and on weekends and accept all major credit cards.
- Divorce/Legal Separation
- Post-Divorce Disputes
- Bankruptcy & Divorce
- Divorce and Business Ownership
- Property Division
- High Asset Divorce
- Military Divorce
- Same-Sex Divorce/Domestic Partnerships
- Ex Parte Emergency Hearings
- Move Away
- Grandparents' Rights
- Child Support
- Spousal Support/Alimony
- Domestic Violence
- Restraining Orders/Protective Orders
- Child Custody/Visitation
- How Domestic Violence Affects Custody