Most residents of Sacramento who are considering ending their marriages are aware that California is a "community property state," but they may not know exactly what the title means. Familiarity with the state's community property laws may assist in resolving disputes about dividing a couple's assets and in planning for the economic consequences of a divorce.
California courts usually expect divorcing couples to prepare a mutually agreeable plan for splitting their assets and debts. However, some couples cannot reach such an agreement, and the court is required to step in. Couples also misunderstand the effect of the state's community property laws. The following guidelines may help solve deadlocks about property division.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.