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.
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.
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?
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.