Property division refers to the allocation of property, assets, earnings and debts to each spouse after a divorce. It is one of the main disputes a couple must address during a dissolution of marriage. A couple can attain property division through a mutual agreement, divorce settlement or judicial decree. The details of your property division will depend on the circumstances of your case.
Property division is one of the most complex and asked-about topics associated with divorce cases in San Jose, California. It is normal to wonder how the courts might divide your property and assets during a divorce trial. Understanding California’s property division laws, as well as ways you may be able to work around them, is easier with an attorney. Contact the San Jose property division lawyers at Schoenberg Family Law Group right away to discuss your divorce case.
Why Choose Us for San Jose Property Divsion?
- Our lawyers treat every client with honesty, respect and compassion. You will feel like our only client when you work with our property division lawyers.
- Our law firm uses strategic and proven legal tactics to help our clients secure a fair share of their marital estates during San Jose divorce cases.
- Our lawyers have years of experience working with couples and individuals during California divorce and property division cases.
- Our attorneys do what they can to keep legal fees to a minimum. We will adjust our services to accommodate your goals and budget.
Community Property vs. Separate Property in San Jose
During a divorce case in San Jose, community property refers to assets and debts accumulated by a couple after marriage. It can also refer to separate assets the couple comingled upon marriage, such as creating a joint bank account. Separate property is each spouse’s individual assets he or she had before the marriage or kept separate during the marriage. Gifts and inheritance are also separate property, even if acquired during the marriage.
The California courts divide assets in a divorce based on a community property law. This is a relatively uncommon type of division doctrine that only nine states in the US use. Under California’s property division law, the courts will split all community property down the middle, 50/50, between a couple during a divorce case. This is in contrast to equitable division states that divide property based on what is fair or equitable for the couple, even if that is not 50/50.
The California divorce courts will only touch community property. They have no jurisdiction over each person’s separate property. Keeping your own property separate from the beginning, therefore, such as through a separate bank account or prenuptial agreement, could help you protect your assets in case of a divorce. This is why working with a lawyer from the beginning of your marriage could improve your case overall. A lawyer can help you protect your property and assets from the start, limiting the financial risks you might face during a San Jose divorce.
High-Asset Property Division in San Jose
High-asset division is especially complex during a divorce case. If you and your spouse have high-value assets, such as homes, vehicles, businesses or investments, use a property division lawyer to help protect your share of the property. The same is true if your spouse has significant debt you wish to avoid. A lawyer can help you figure out how to divide your assets appropriately and fairly.
- Homes or properties
- Family heirlooms
- Stocks and bonds
- Retirement accounts
A lawyer may be able to protect your high-value assets from going to your ex-spouse in a divorce. A lawyer could assist with estate planning and a prenuptial/postnuptial agreement, for example, before a divorce. If your divorce case goes to trial in San Jose, your lawyer can also represent you to increase your chances of a fair property division outcome.
What Makes Property Division Complex?
Despite a general 50/50 split under California’s community property law, property division can be anything but simple for couples. Depending on the types of assets involved, as well as their value, your property division case could be highly complex. If you commingled your assets, for example, it can be difficult to distinguish your marital property from separate property. Many couples have to resolve several legal issues before they can negotiate a property division settlement agreement in San Jose.
The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., is equipped to handle every type of property division issue, including the following factors that could make asset division more complex:
- Advanced degrees and professional licenses
- Appreciated value of separate property
- Artwork and collectibles
- Assets owned through trusts
- Deferred compensation
- Hidden assets and offshore accounts
- High-end homes and real estate
- Illegal transfer of assets
- Jointly owned businesses
- Loans, credit cards and debts
- Marital waste (gambling, etc.)
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
- Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)
- Retirement savings accounts
- Stocks and investments
- Tax considerations
- Transmutation of assets
Our lawyers have extensive experience with complex and high-asset divorce cases in San Jose. We are prepared to tackle any challenge and a wide range of financial issues. For example, we can address a diverse portfolio if you own a multimillion-dollar estate, your business if you are an entrepreneur, and unpaid taxes and other marital debts. We have connections to forensic accountants, private investigators, valuation experts and appraisers to ensure that all of your assets are accurately identified and valued.
Role of Mediation in Asset Division
Mediation is a popular form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) during a divorce case in California. It is an informal meeting involving both parties and a mediator. A mediator is an unbiased third party who typically has training or experience with conflict resolution, such as an attorney or a retired judge. During mediation, the mediator will host negotiations and encourage both parties to reach a compromise or settlement agreement.
Mediation is especially helpful during asset division in a divorce case. Since property division is often a point of contention, mediation gives a couple the chance to communicate and work together to come up with an agreement that works for both parties. This can enable the couple to avoid an expensive and lengthy divorce trial.
During mediation, both parties will be separated into different rooms after introductions are made. Then, the mediator will go back and forth between the parties to ask questions and understand their goals. Both parties can have attorneys present during mediation, if desired. An attorney can help you protect your rights and voice your goals during the meeting.
The mediator will help the couple communicate and resolve conflicts regarding asset division. At the end of mediation, the couple can decide whether or not to resolve the case and sign a settlement agreement. However, mediation does not have to end with a settlement. The couple can walk away without having the issue resolved and revisit it again later during another mediation meeting. The couple can also decide to take the case to trial, if necessary.
Benefits of Mediation for Property Division
Mediation can save time, money and stress for a couple that is struggling with property division in San Jose. It can prevent a divorce case from having to go to trial to be resolved, which can save thousands of dollars as well as a great deal of time waiting for a court date. Reaching a settlement during mediation also keeps the matter private. In contrast, litigation is part of public record and can be a long, drawn-out process with much higher costs. If you believe that mediation is the right choice for your property division case, consult with an attorney who can help.
How an Attorney Can Help With Property Division in San Jose
Although California’s property division laws split everything 50/50, it is possible to work around them to achieve an asset division arrangement that better suits your needs. The courts will always give a couple the chance to work out a property division agreement on their own first. Judges will sign off on most property division arrangements. Use an attorney for help with your property and debt division.
- Property division plan. A lawyer can work with you to list all of your community assets and debts, as well as what they are worth. Then, your lawyer can help you and your spouse come up with a plan that works for both of you.
- Divorce mediation. If you and your spouse need additional assistance, your lawyer can represent you during divorce mediation. A lawyer’s help during mediation can enable you to better protect your rights and achieve a positive outcome.
- Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. If you are not getting a divorce but still wish to protect your assets in case of a split in the future, use a lawyer to create a prenuptial or postnuptial These legal documents can protect your property by creating a division plan your spouse already signed off on before divorce.
Property division is an aspect of divorce most couples dread. You and your ex-spouse may be able to work out a satisfactory agreement without intervention from a judge, however, with help from a divorce attorney in San Jose. The advice you receive from your lawyer could enable you to compromise with your ex, such as trading a piece of property for a smaller portion of community debt. A lawyer can aggressively protect your rights and do whatever possible to achieve a desirable outcome.
Contact a San Jose Property Division Lawyer Today
Do not risk having the courts divide your assets and debts 50/50. Improve your chances of avoiding California’s community property laws by hiring a San Jose property division lawyer. The attorneys at Schoenberg Family Law Group may be able to help you prevent your assets from going to your ex-spouse during a divorce. We can use several proven strategies to try to protect your property. We can also take care of confusing legal processes on your behalf, such as filing your divorce petition.
Handle property division without stress with help from a lawyer during your divorce case in San Jose. Our lawyers can provide confidence and peace of mind when you need it the most. Contact the Schoenberg Family Law Group at (415) 213-2651 or use our online form 24/7. We provide personalized and strategic property division solutions. We handle all family law claims in the San Jose area.