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San Francisco Appreciation Of Separate Property Lawyer

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Wealth that California spouses acquired together is equally divided. One party may also have a community property interest in the marital appreciation of the other spouse’s separately owned property.Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., addresses separate property appreciation, commingling of separate property, and several other complex property division issues. Our lawyers routinely handle high net worth divorces in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.

A Community Interest In Separately Owned Assets?

Under community property doctrine, each spouse is entitled to half of the marital assets acquired during their marriage. The more complicated issue is a 401(k) or a business venture held in one spouse’s name and acquired before marriage. Although the core asset is not community property, the subsequent appreciation in value may be.

Our legal team successfully litigates disputes over separate property appreciation, with experience in both asserting the community property claim and defending the separate asset. We address the characterization and valuation of any separate property asset, such as:

  • Retirement accounts that began before marriage
  • Premarital real estate
  • Vintage cars
  • A business or professional practice launched before marriage
  • Premarital mixed portfolio
  • Stock options and restricted stock units (RSUs)
  • A trust or inheritance

Our firm works with professional appraisers and valuation experts to determine, for purposes of negotiation or litigation, the value of a given asset at the time you were married and the extent to which it appreciated during marriage.

Separate property appreciation does not automatically confer community property character upon an asset. The spouse seeking to transmute it into community property must prove commingling of assets, or otherwise establish a community property interest.

For example, if a couple renovated one spouse’s separately titled house during marriage, then the other spouse may be entitled to reimbursement of those expenditures, plus a half share of any subsequent appreciation in value. A court may also consider indirect contributions, such as supporting a spouse through medical school, or other sacrifices that enabled the spouse to spend more time building a successful business during the marriage.

“After hearing horror stories about other lawyers from friends who have gotten divorced over the years, I felt very fortunate to always be in charge of my case, to not be forgotten or milked for time and money, to have no major balls dropped, and to have a law firm that was so responsive to my questions and concerns.”

— L.S. (More testimonials from our clients.)

Asserting Or Defending Claims For Appreciation

Debra R. Schoenberg is a Certified* Family Law Specialist and an accomplished trial lawyer. All of our attorneys practice exclusively in family law, and we regularly address these legally and technically complicated issues in the division of marital assets.

Are you entitled to a percentage of the appreciation of your spouse’s separate property? Is your spouse making unfounded claims against your separately owned assets? Contact us online, or call us at 415.834.1120.

* Certified in Family Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Our Awards and Memberships

Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., recognizes that family law matters involve complex, sensitive issues that can have a lasting impact on you, your family, your finances and your future.

More About Honors & Awards
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10.0 Avvo Superb Top Attorney Family Law, Divorce
Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys 2017
2020 Most Trustworthy Companies of the Year
100 TOP WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES Women Who Lead
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF MATRIMONIAL LAWYERS (AAML)
2022 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies In the Bay Area San Francisco Business Times
2021 LGBTQ-OWNED BUSINESSES Business Pride
10 Best Female Attorneys 2017 American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
San Francisco Bay Area's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner 2021
2018 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms U.S. News & World Report
California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) State Bar of California
2020 Client Champion Debra R. Schoenberg
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards 2019
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Concord 2020
2018 Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in San Francisco
Fast 100
Lead Counsel Rated
Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) Fellow
National Board of Trial Advocacy
2017 Parents' Press Best of The Bay
San Francisco Business Times
Rated By Super Lawyers Debra R. Schoenberg
The Recorder Law Business Technology Best of 2021 Winner
The Business of Pride
2021 Best Businesses Three Best Rated
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards & Summit
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys of 2018
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