Rancho Cucamonga Separate Property Divorce Lawyer
When a couple decides to dissolve their marriage/domestic partnership, a major point of contention is always the division of assets.
California is one of the ~20% of states that have “community property” laws – that is, assets/debts acquired during the marriage are subject to a 50/50 division between the spouses.
Determining what is community property and what is separate property – which are assets not subject to division by the courts – in a divorce/legal separation can be a confusing, grueling process, especially given the emotion involved.
With this in mind, it is imperative that you seek the counsel of a Rancho Cucamonga Separate Property Divorce Lawyer with family law experience so that your possessions and interests are properly protected.
What Is Considered Separate Property?
The bulk of separate property will be assets, which have been acquired prior to the marriage. For example, an automobile purchased before the inception of the marriage – solely in one spouse’s name – would be considered separate property.
While most debts and assets acquired during the marriage are considered community property – part of the net community estate that will be equitably divided among the spouses – there are exceptions.
Both gifts and inheritance that are received by one spouse during a marriage can be considered separate property, provided no commingling has taken place.
Commingling is when one partner’s separate property becomes mixed with their partner’s separate property, or their joint community property. This is where a great deal of dispute occurs – if an asset isn’t readily identifiable as separate property, it could be lumped in with a couples community property.
For example, if you were given an expensive camera as a gift and wanted to claim it as separate property, the onus is on you to provide proof – written or otherwise – that the camera was specifically gifted to you.
Commingling makes determining separate and community property convoluted, and is best left to a qualified separate property attorney to assess. The more written proof you can provide your attorney, the better chance you will be able to keep separate property that is rightfully yours.
Other Separate Property Agreements
For an asset acquired during the marriage to be considered separate property, there must be a written agreement in place between the couple acknowledging this fact. One you may have heard of is a prenuptial agreement, which is created and agreed-to prior to entering into the marriage contract. Prenuptial agreements vary widely and can also include provisions regarding things like spousal support.
Agreements can also be signed during the marriage to identify separate property. The pertinent factor here is that the title of the asset is only in one spouses name, and that there is an agreement signed by both party’s acknowledging the asset as separate property.
So if you purchase an automobile, even if it’s only got your name on the title, it would be considered community property unless you have a signed written agreement stating otherwise.
What Falls Under Community Property
The debts and assets acquired during your marriage by either partner are considered community property and are subject to equitable division by the courts. This can include bank accounts, cash, real estate, retirement accounts, pensions, investments, vehicles, lawsuit settlements, businesses, cash and debts.
While this is all typically split 50/50 (assessed a fair-market value), there are exceptions. Many spouses come to an agreement where one keeps more assets than the other in exchange for the waiving of other rights they’d be entitled to.
Talk to a Rancho Cucamonga Separate Property Divorce Lawyer
When a domestic partnership ends, the emotion involved can cloud your judgment – many make the mistake of trying to expedite the process and end up losing assets that are rightfully theirs.
If you are facing a divorce/legal separation and want to protect your interests, it is important that you consult with a qualified Rancho Cucamonga separate property lawyer.
The Law Office of Laurence J. Brock has a proven track record in family law and division of property. Give us a call at (909) 466-7661 or contact us online – our attorney’s will make sure that you retain assets and separate property, which are rightfully yours.