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Cyber technology provides new tools for finding hidden assets

When a couple has decided to end their marriage, one or both spouses may try to attempt to hide assets from the other spouse. For example, a person facing a divorce may try to hide marital assets from California's community property laws by creating a secret bank account or stock market account. Recent advances in computer technology have greatly increased the difficulty of successfully hiding assets that must be disclosed during the property division process.

Using appraisals to value real property in a California divorce

Even though California is a community property state, dividing assets in a divorce can prove to be a contentious problem. If a couple has acquired significant amounts of real property during their marriage, each of them is entitled to 50% of the value of the property. Liquidating the holdings can provide a simple method of arriving at a 50/50 division, but in many cases, some or all of the holdings cannot be sold without a significant loss in value. In such cases, an appraisal of the value of real property by a qualified appraiser can aid the process of property division.

Using a buy-sell agreement to protect corporate stock in divorce

One of the most disruptive events in the life of a closely held corporation in California is the divorce of one of the owners. Without prior planning, a shareholder's divorce could insert the shareholder's former spouse into the management of the corporation if the stock is a community asset. Also, a shareholder may be forced to sell valuable stock at a loss in order to satisfy a property distribution order. A well-drafted stock transfer agreement or buy-sell agreement can eliminate these risks.

Don't play guessing games with student loans during divorce

When you think about contentious divorce issues, you may consider custody and parenting time as being the toughest problems to resolve. However, dividing marital debt may be just as complicated and arduous as anything dealing with where a child will live. Additionally, California family court judges have a great deal of discretion in how they allocate debt. With this possibility, the responsibility for paying particular debts may not always lie with the person who took out the loan or credit card. 

10 Surprising Facts About Community Property And Divorce

When dividing property in a divorce, it matters what state you live in. Americans live either in a "community" or "common law" property state; in the latter (which includes California), the courts decide what belongs to whom in divorce and death proceedings.  In "community property" states, each spouse is an equal owner of any property acquired during the marriage. Property acquired before or after marriage would be considered "separate property" and, therefore, not subject to joint distribution after divorce.

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