Divorcing couples in Sacramento who own significant assets face a number of issues that do not usually come up for couples who are not as well off. That issue is the division of their assets to comply with California’s community property laws and also the requirement that the division be fair to both spouses.
The first hurdle in a high asset divorce is coming to grips with the state’s community property laws. The most important provision is the requirement that all property acquired by the couple during their marriage is community property and must be divided equally. This requirement first requires each party to identify assets that are community property and assets that are individual property. Also, income produced by assets during the marriage are considered community property.
Valuing assets can be challenging. Both parties should make a list of their assets and valuable property. These assets can include both tangible and intangible items. Intangible items can include patents, trademarks, unique skills and product development ability. Tangible assets can include cash, real property, stocks and securities, inventory and accounts receivable. Many couples have acquired high-value assets such as automobiles, art collections, real estate and retirement and pension plans. One of the best ways to value such assets is to hire an appraiser (or appraisers) who are experienced in valuing such assets. Some divorcing couples are able to agree on the choice of an appraiser, thereby saving appraisal fees and avoiding a courtroom dispute over the accuracy of the appraisal.
Anyone leaving a high asset marriage should endeavor to retain a lawyer who is experienced in high asset divorces. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide advice on the application of community property laws, methods of evaluation and techniques for dividing assets that do not require liquidation of the asset.