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EXPERIENCED DIVORCE ATTORNEY

Getting divorced is never easy. Trying to figure out how to divide marital property can make a difficult situation even more stressful. The best way to navigate your divorce is with the help of an experienced attorney. At Berenji & Associates, we are here to help you get what you want out of your divorce. We’ll help you identify the property you’d like to hold onto and fight to make those dreams a reality.

Spouses in Beverly Hills have put their trust in our property division attorneys for more than 25 years. We understand that figuring out how to divide everything you own can be overwhelming. It is our mission to make the process as successful and painless as possible. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with our skilled legal team.

Property Division in California

California is what is known as a community property state. This is important to know when you get a divorce. Community property laws require that marital assets be divided evenly between spouses. As a result, both you and your spouse will be entitled to half of all marital assets (and debts!) after you split up. Since California is a no-fault state, a spouse’s conduct during the marriage won’t have an impact on their right to receive half of all property.

Community Property vs. Separate Property

California law requires that each spouse receive hall of all marital property. What qualifies as “marital property” for the purposes of the law? There are actually two ways to identify property in the state: community and separate.

Community Property: In California, there is a presumption that all property acquired during a marriage is community property. These are the assets that must be evenly divided in the event of a divorce. This can include:

  • Income
  • Stocks
  • Savings accounts
  • Retirement benefits
  • Personal items
  • Real estate
  • Debts and liability
  • Vehicles, and more.

Simply put, almost anything you or your spouse obtain during the marriage will probably be considered community property.

Separate Property: Separate property is not subject to state property division laws. This means that you get to keep any property that is classified as separate. Separate property typically involves things that you personally and individually owned prior to marriage. Separate property can include:

  • Property owned before you got married
  • Inheritances received by one individual spouse
  • Income acquired after you are formally separated, and
  • Income earned while living apart from your spouse.

It is important to know that separate property can be converted into community property. This is done when you extend a written right of ownership to your spouse. For example, let’s say you owned a house before you got married. This would be considered separate property. However, if you put your spouse on the deed, the home would then be considered community property.

Complex Property Division

Figuring out how to divide your property evenly can be incredibly difficult. This is particularly true if:

  1. You both want to walk away with certain assets;
  2. You have complex assets;
  3. You own a lot of real estate;
  4. Your property is difficult to value; or
  5. There are issues about whether should be classified as separate or community.

Dividing and allocating property in a divorce can become complicated when you have any of the following:

  • 401(k) accounts
  • IRAs
  • Pensions
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Rental income
  • A family business
  • Partnership interest(s) in a business
  • Inheritances, and/or
  • Commercial property.

If you have a complex marital estate, it will take a lot of time to thoroughly review your assets and debts. It is important to work with an experienced Beverly Hills property division attorney who can help to ensure that the process is done correctly. At Berenji & Associates, we work closely with experts to make sure that all community property is identified and valued appropriately. This helps us to ensure that our clients receive their fair share of the marital property.

Valuing Community Property

Unless you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that says otherwise, you and your spouse will be required to receive half of all marital property. In order to do this, each component of your marital property must be assigned a specific value.

How are marital assets valued? Who gets to determine how much a specific piece of property is worth? Answering these questions is part of the challenge of getting a divorce. In most cases, you and your spouse will probably have to agree to rely on unbiased, third-party appraisers to help you out. You’ll have to agree on who to use and the method they use to value your property.

Avoid Community Property Laws With a Prenup

California’s community property laws are the default. They will apply unless you have a pre-existing agreement that states other terms. Drawing up a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help you avoid a lot of the stress that accompanies property division discussions.

A prenuptial agreement is a private contract that is drawn up before spouses get married. A postnuptial agreement is essentially the same, except that the spouses enter into it after they are already hitched. This private contractual agreement can allow you to circumvent some of the harsher components of California divorce law.

Creating a prenuptial agreement can allow you to assign specific pieces of property to a spouse, regardless of value. Some spouses even stipulate that all property will simply be sold in the event of a divorce. Each spouse then walks away with half of all proceeds. You can hash out the details of your property division before trouble starts to brew in your relationship. This can be great because you are approaching the issue with a level head. Chances are, you’ll be more likely to divide your assets fairly evenly, anyway. However, you won’t have to go through the trouble of valuing each asset and fighting over each little thing.

Do you want to learn more about creating a prenuptial agreement? Contact our Beverly Hills family law attorneys today to schedule your free consultation.

Don’t Forget About Your Debts

Property includes much more than your assets. Debts and liabilities that you share with your spouse must also be divided evenly. Liabilities can include:

  • Credit card debt
  • Home mortgage loan(s)
  • Vehicle loans
  • Business debt, and more.

Some spouses like to use marital debt as bargaining chips in a divorce. You can be entitled to more property if you agree to take on more debt. For example, let’s say you really want the family home. You offer to take on the mortgage debt in its entirety, knowing there is still a lot due on the house. As a result, you can be easier to get the home without giving any other pieces of property up in exchange. In other words, liabilities can offset property.

Contact Our Beverly Hills Property Division Attorneys

Dividing property can be a stressful and time-consuming process. You need to make sure that all property is identified and that each asset is valued properly. Hiring an attorney to help you navigate this difficult task can make your life a lot easier. Contact the Beverly Hills property division attorneys at Berenji & Associates today. We will help you identify the property you want to get out of your divorce and fight to make those wishes a reality. Call us today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.