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Valuing a small business in a California divorce

Most residents of Sacramento contemplating a divorce understand that a fundamental issues is the division of marital assets. For couples without high value assets, the division can be relatively simple, but for couples who have accumulated significant wealth, the division of property can be complex. One of the thorniest questions is how to value a small business, especially if both spouses worked in the business.

What is commingled property in a California divorce?

When divorcing couples in Sacramento think about dividing their property, they believe that property can be divided into two classes: marital property and separate property. Marital property is divided 50/50 between the spouses, while separate property belongs to the spouse who owned it prior to the marriage. But, sometimes, property division can be complicated by the commingling of assets. What exactly is commingled property?

Understanding the right to reimbursement in a California divorce

Most Californians who are considering divorce understand that assets acquired during the marriage must be divided equally between the spouses. One of the important exceptions to this rule is the so-called right to reimbursement. This rule states that if a spouse contributed money or other property to acquire a marital asset, that spouse is entitled to reimbursement for the payment or contribution separate from the division of property in the marital estate.

Hiding assets in a California divorce can be risky

California law requires both parties to a divorce to make a full and complete disclosure of their assets to the other party. Occasionally, one or both parties will attempt to prevent the other spouse from learning about certain assets with the intent of preventing the court from making an equal property division as required by California law. Those who attempt this gambit often fail, and they may face very serious penalties.

Dividing property and debts in a California divorce

The California legislature presumably decided to make property acquired during a marriage community property to simplify divorces. This choice often has the intended outcome, but many divorcing couples still run into problems in negotiating property division issues.

What happens to pets in a California divorce?

An issue that is often overlooked in the early stages of a California divorce is the disposition of pets. Occasionally, only one spouse wants to keep the family pet, and the issue is easily resolved. In many families, however, both spouses and the children form intense emotional attachments to the family pet. Sometimes, these attachments can be as difficult to resolve as issues of child custody, visitation and property division.

Using a business appraiser in a California divorce

Many California couples own stock in one or more small businesses. In the event the couple decides to end their marriage, they may need to value the stock they own. If a divorce is not contested as to property division, an appraiser may not be needed. If, however, the spouses disagree on the worth of their business, an appraisal by a qualified business appraiser may be required to establish the value of the business. Some businesses cannot sold without destroying their value, and an appraisal of the value of the business can help the parties or the court divide the marital estate equally.

How to divide the value of a house in a California divorce

For most divorcing California couples, their house is their biggest asset, and the mortgage is likely to be the largest debt. California's community property law does not give couples much latitude in how to divide the equity in the house, but several property division options are nevertheless available.

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.

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