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Lawyer Avenatti ordered to give luxury assets to wife in divorce

Michael Avenatti is a Los Angeles attorney who has garnered an outsize share of media coverage in the last several months by representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her dispute with President Donald Trump about an affair she allegedly had with him several years ago. He is now getting media coverage because of his pending divorce and the property settlement with his estranged wife. Avenatti's divorce does not provide a paragon for ending a marriage, but he and his wife have apparently reached an agreement about dividing assets that may provide a template for other high-asset couples.

Hiding assets in a divorce in California is a bad idea

When a divorce becomes nasty, one or both parties may use tactics that they would never use in their business or social lives. One of the most common tactics is to hide marital assets from the other spouse. This behavior is usually based on three incorrect assumptions: the other party has no means to search for or find the property; the property is hidden so that it will not be found; and if the property is found, the consequences will be light.

The basics of dividing property in a divorce in California

Most people in Sacramento County understand that a divorce involves the division of property owned by the couple. An understanding of the types of property that a couple may acquire during their marriage can help understand the process of dividing those assets.

Property division pitfalls

Many couples in Sacramento who are going through a divorce attempt to divide their property without consulting a lawyer, an accountant or a financial planner. Such efforts can resolve a number of major issues in the divorce without the interference of the courts or opposing attorneys. The do-it-yourself property division process, however, has a number of pitfalls for the unwary.

A refresher on California's community property laws

Most people in Sacramento County have been told that California is a "community property state," but very few know exactly what the phrase means. The phrase refers to state laws that govern the division of property in a divorce or legal separation, but even understanding that part of the law does not adequately convey the effect of the law on divorcing couples.

Protecting business assets in a divorce in California

Many couples in Sacramento have entered into a marriage without considering the possibility that a divorce may change their lives unexpectedly. Some couples have attempted to co-own and manage a small business without considering the possible effect of a divorce on their respective interests in the business. If and when a divorce occurs, splitting the business can prove to be a problem.

Dealing with retirement plans in a California divorce

For divorcing couples who have been married for a significant number of years the retirement plans owned by them may be the largest assets they own, worth more than even the house. Because California is a community property state, the process of dividing the assets in these plans can be very complex and involves provisions of both state and federal laws.

Using a joint appraiser in a California divorce

One of the most contentious issues in divorces involving wealthy couples is the valuation of joint property. Even in a community property state like ours, where joint assets are divided equally, many assets may require a valuation to ensure the equal division required by law. In the past, common practice dictated that each spouse hire an appraiser to provide expert testimony on the value of real property, business interests and uniquely valuable assets, such as works of art. A new trend is now emerging: the use of joint appraisers.

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?

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