June 4, 2013 By Paul Wallin

After 30 years of marriage, you and your spouse decide to seek a divorce. The two of you have accumulated substantial property throughout the duration of your marriage. Who will receive the vacation home? Will you be able to keep your prized boat? Will your spouse be entitled to the family car?

If you are seeking a divorce in Orange County, you need to contact a Wallin & Klarich attorney today. Our skilled division of property attorneys will analyze each property item, determine the nature of the property, and advise you accordingly as to how the property should be divided in your divorce.

What is community property?

Division of Property Lawyers
Going through a divorce can be a confusing process. Call a Wallin & Klarich family law aattorney today and we will get through this together.
California is a community property state. This means that property acquired by you and your spouse during the marriage while you two are living in California is considered community property.

    • Real estate;
    • Furniture, furnishings, and appliances;
    • Automobiles, motorcycles, and boats;
    • Checking and savings accounts;
    • Stock options; and
    • Investments.

Community property also includes anything that does not fall within the scope of separate property. Separate property includes the following:

    • All property owned separately by you or your spouse prior to marriage;
    • Property acquired separately by you or your spouse during marriage such as a gift, devise, bequest, or inheritance; and
    • Any property that you or your spouse acquired by purchase with separate funds.

What is community property debt?

Community property debt is any debt acquired by you or your spouse from the date of marriage to the date of separation. Family Code Section 2550 states that unless the two of you agree otherwise, community property debt shall be divided equally between you and your spouse. Examples of debts that can be considered community property debt include the following:

    • Unsecured personal loans;
    • Student loans;
    • Mortgages;
    • Car loans; and
    • Taxes.

Student loans are usually considered separate debt, even when acquired during the marriage. However, student loans may be considered community debt in some instances when the education or training that the spouse receives substantially enhances his or her earning capacity. For more information regarding whether your student loan qualifies as a community debt, contact a Wallin & Klarich family law attorney today.

What methods will the court use to divide our community property and debt?

If you and your spouse cannot agree how to divide the community property, the court has the authority to use the following methods to divide the community property:

In-Kind Division

If the property can be easily divided, the court will split the property in half and award each party one half of the property. This method is often used to divide bank accounts, stock options, and insurance proceeds.

Asset Distribution/Cash Out Division

If the property cannot be easily divided, the court may use this method to award certain assets to you and other assets of equal value to your spouse. This method can be time-consuming since it requires the court to measure the value of each property item and debt in order to divide the community property equally.

Sale & Division of Proceeds

If the property cannot be easily divided, the court may order that a certain community property item be sold. The proceeds from the sale will then be divided equally between you and your spouse.

Deferred Partition by Conversion to Tenancy in Common

Sometimes, the court may prefer to hold off on dividing community property. This method allows the court to assign you and your spouse each a one-half interest in a certain community property item, such as a house. You and your spouse will be considered tenants in common of the community property item, which will allow both of you to own a separate and distinct share of the property.

Why you should retain Wallin & Klarich for your divorce

The family law attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully assisting clients through the community property division process. Our attorneys understand that the division of property can be one of the most complex issues in a divorce. Your Wallin & Klarich attorney can explain how the division of property and debt can affect the outcome of your divorce.

Wallin & Klarich family law attorney, Matthew E. Forsse, recently helped his client settle her debt obligations and receive one-half of the couple’s retirement and pension accounts. Mr. Forsse successfully acquired all of the ex-couple’s financial records in order to account for every community asset and debt obligation. Our family law attorneys achieve such favorable results through our extensive knowledge of the applicable law and attention to detail.

Our offices are located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, West Covina, and Victorville. Please call us today at (888) 749- 7428 to speak with an experienced Wallin & Klarich family law attorney. We will be there when you call.

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