When a couple decides to end their marriage, there are specific issues that must be addressed and settled prior to the dissolution of marriage. The state of California recognizes the allotment of property ownership for each divorcing spouse on a fair basis.
So, how is property divided when filing for a divorce in California?
Divorce in California – Your Legal Guide in Property Division Law
In California, property division during a divorce is generally considered “equitably distributed,” meaning that properties owned by both spouses should be divided fairly and equally.
Couples can arrange a formal agreement with their legal representatives regarding who acquires certain portions of conjugal or shared properties during the settlement. It does not necessarily require a court hearing.
If the couple is unable to agree within the terms of property division during the settlement period, the judge can award one party (plaintiff) the same amount as the other (defendant). However, it is essential to remember that when the judge grants equal amounts of money to both parties, it should coincide with the standard agreement between the court and both parties. A judge can alter an award to the plaintiff if the plaintiff requests it, as can the defendant, on fairgrounds of requests.
Legal Division of Property & Debts
Suppose the parties do not have a prenuptial or marital agreement (or both) that includes provisions on how property and debts will be divided during the divorce process. In that case, the court may divide property and debts in accordance with the laws of equity.
In California, courts are reluctant to award large sums of money, particularly to parties with a bankruptcy history. This is because many states have statutes that limit how much money creditors can take from debtors. The court often considers the debtor’s ability to pay back debts and shows that the debtor’s ability to pay back debts would be substantially affected by selling assets. Once again, the courts will not award large sums of money unless they find it is in the creditors’ best interests.
Spousal & Child Support
After determining the property and debts division between the spouses, the court will consider a range of factors in determining spousal and child support. For example, if the couple agreed to have joint custody, the courts will look at the parties’ ability to care for children, earn money, and their joint financial status.
When the parties are no longer married, the court will consider any spousal support, child support, alimony, maintenance, or other obligations the couple has agreed to, along with other marital obligations that the parties may still have before marriage.
If either party is incapacitated, such as suffering from a mental illness, the court will look to the other party’s ability to care for the other party’s needs. The court will also look at each party’s contribution to the marital lifestyle, considering the parties’ contribution to household finances, children’s education and healthcare, and joint financial contributions to their retirement accounts.
Divorce Attorney in California
Property division during a divorce process in California does not have to be complicated. Divorcing couples need to follow the proper procedures and steps to file the paperwork. The best-case scenario is to get help from an experienced family law attorney to represent your case. A specializing divorce lawyer can help you set up a plan that both of you can agree on to ensure your children’s future. With their help, you can efficiently resolve legal issues and negotiate a fair divorce settlement in a more amicable way.
Do you have more questions regarding the process of property division for divorcing couples? Schedule a consultation with us here!