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Rancho Cucamonga Asset and Debt Discovery Lawyer
A Rancho Cucamonga asset and debt discovery lawyer can help protect your rights during the course of a legal separation or divorce.
Aside from helping you legally declare all of your assets, your attorney will help prevent future complications by researching your asset and debt history to determine what you legally owned prior to the marriage, thereby exempting it from legal dispute.
Furthermore, asset and debt discovery lawyers can refer you to professionals who will tabulate your overall net worth – a necessary step before reaching a final court decision.
Property Division in California
By law, California defines property as anything with value. That can include stocks, pensions and 401k accounts, or anything that can be bought or sold, such as a car or a house. In a divorce or legal separation, all property – including debt – must be divided equally by net worth. This is because California abides by the laws of community property.
What is Community Property?
In California, a marriage legally classifies two people as a single entity. Therefore, the ownership of anything their “community” earns is legally contestable upon separation. What this means is nearly everything acquired over the course of a marriage can be divided, or completely awarded to one party. Unlike other property laws, in community property cases, reaching an equal division of net worth is the bottom line.
Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property
Marital property includes anything with value that was acquired over the course of marriage. It does not include gifts that were designated for only one party or single-party bequeathments.
Pension and Retirement Account Division During Divorce
Both spouses are granted equal rights to pension and retirement accounts until a court issues a qualified domestic relations order. In other words, pension and retirement accounts fall under community property laws.
Incorrectly filing a qualified domestic relations order could result in losing access to the plan once the participant dies, or even being incorrectly appraised by using an incorrect mathematical formula.
Payments made to pensions before marriage, however, are considered separate property, and may be excluded once proven in court. Again, this all hinges on filling out the correct paperwork, such as an FL-180 Form, on time, with complete and total accuracy.
Military Pension Division in California
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act states that “military pension division is neither mandated nor automatic. It is up to the states to decide whether military retirement is marital or community property that is divisible upon divorce.” That means, like retirement accounts, military pensions fall under the same community property laws.
Points on Property Division
Physical property is appraised based on its current, as-is condition.
Your debt is considered shared property as well, meaning that if one person stops making payments, the other person may have their credit affected as well.
The circumstances determining who gets to keep the wedding ring are entirely conditional, and if an agreement cannot be reached, a judge and jury will decide.
Is Property Division Complicated?
Property division can become so complicated that the State of California’s government website contains advisories suggesting that people obtain legal representation.
Do I Need an Asset and Debt Lawyer?
Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you feel you need an asset and debt discovery family lawyer. Many people find it helpful to work with an attorney.
A lawyer will help you consider all your options, including a “buyout agreement,” which may save you considerable losses. A lawyer will also help keep your spouse honest about declaring their property while ensuring your assets are properly accounted for.
Most importantly, a lawyer will be able to guide you through the plethora of paperwork involved, and ensure that no detail is improperly filed.