When a couple seeks a dissolution of marriage or termination of their domestic partnership, decisions will need to be made regarding the distribution of property. If the couple can’t reach their own agreement regarding property division, the court will step in and decide the matter. As a first step, the court will establish the couple’s community property and separate property. Property accumulated during a marriage is considered communalor community property. Both parties are entitled to an equal share. This can be separated either by trade, offsets or simply selling the property and dividing the proceeds.

Separate property is any property acquired by a spouse before the marriage or after the date of separation or by inheritance or gift during the marriage. Separate property is generally awarded to the party who acquired it. The date of separation is determined by looking at when the parties agreed that the marital relationship is over. This too can be a point of contention and litigation as the date may affect the valuation of particular assets or debts.

How property is divided is often a highly contested issue between spouses. An attorney from our firm should be contacted if you are getting a divorce to find out what property you are legally entitled to. If possible, we will work out an agreement between you and your spouse regarding the division of your property. Our firm can also provide capable representation in court regarding a property settlement or valuation and division.

When people are married, they become connected not just emotionally and legally, but financially. Even if money is kept in separate accounts, if it is earned or acquired during the marriage, it is community property and both spouses have an absolute duty to disclose to the other all of their assets and obligations. The State of California absolutely requires full disclosure between spouses. Even if one spouse controls the finances of the family, they have a duty to communicate and keep the other spouse informed of the financial state of the family.

In some cases, the parties’ debts far exceed their assets and it may be time to consider filing for bankruptcy. It may better serve you to file separately from your spouse or possibly together, before a divorce action is filed. Our firm can help you there too. We have highly trained professionals who can assist you with all steps relating to bankruptcy and our team of professionals, working together, can assist you in making decisions of when and how to file that best serves you and your family.

Our office can assist you in better understanding what your obligations are, when you need to disclose and what you are legally entitled to keep. In addition, we can effectively assist you in discovering the information needed from a controlling partner so that you can make truly informed decisions about the financial future of your family.