Property Division by the Court (California Family Code 2010)
California Family Code 2010 – Overview
California Family Code section 2010 states that in a divorce or legal separation, the family law courts have the power to render a judgment in regards to the settlement of the property division issues. Dividing community property can be complicated and may involve elaborate methods and calculations in order to properly divide community property.
It is important that you have a Riverside property division attorney who understands the California Family Code and case law that provides the family law court judges and commissioners with power to divide community property.
Community Property Division
Family Code section 2103 requires the parties to complete and exchange declarations of disclosures. The parties, at a minimum, must complete and exchange a preliminary declaration of disclosure before the family law court in Riverside can enter a property division judgment. In the declaration of disclosure each party must disclose all their assets and debts and state whether they are community property or separate property. The legislative intent behind the declaration of disclosure is to ensure an accurate division of the property and to provide each party with full knowledge of all the assets and debts to be divided in the divorce or legal separation.
Further, California is a community property state. This means that all community property must be divided equally between the parties. Family Code section 2550 states that unless the parties agree otherwise, the court must divide a community equally between the parties. This means that if the parties cannot agree on how the community property will be divided, the court must divide all the community property (all assets and debts) by awarding each spouse a 50 percent interest.
Dividing a Community Estate
Example: A husband and wife own a car with a fair market value of $3000.00 and have a joint checking account with a fair market value of $2000.00. They also have $1000.00 in credit card debt. Thus, the community estate has a value of $4000.00 ($3000.00 + $2000.00 – $1000.00).
The husband and wife cannot agree on how to divide the community estate, and thus the family law court must now divide the property and award each spouse a 50 percent interest. The husband is awarded the car and the credit card debt. The wife is awarded the bank account. Each party is awarded $2000.00, which is 50 percent of the value in the community estate.
Methods of Property Division
As previously stated, unless the parties agree as to how the community property will be divided, the court has the authority to divide the community property. There are four ways in which the court can divide the property:
1. In-Kind Division:
For property that can easily be equally divided, such as bank accounts, shares of stock, and insurance proceeds, the court will split the amount equally between the parties, and each party will be awarded one half.
2. Asset Distribution/Cash Out Division:
This method is usually used when an asset cannot be easily divided. The family law court will award one or more assets to one spouse and other assets of equal value to the other spouse. This method of division is generally not favored by the family law courts because it can be time consuming and requires the court to determine the value of the each asset and debt in order to accomplish an equal division. Moreover, some community property can be difficult to value as it may be unique or hold sentimental value.
3. Sale and Division of Proceeds:
In this method of division, the court can order that a particular community asset be sold and the proceeds from that sale be equally divided between the parties. The family law courts tend to favor this method of division as it is practical and inexpensive.
4. Deferred Partition by Conversion to Tenancy in Common:
In a deferred partition by conversion to tenancy in common, the family law court will award each spouse a one-half interest in a community asset by making them tenant in common and then holding off on the actual division of the asset until it can be sold and the proceeds can be equally divided. This method is generally used when there is a community house that cannot be sold immediately.
Wallin & Klarich Property Division Attorney
The division of community property is a complex process that requires rigorous attention to detail. It is important that as you go through a divorce or legal separation you understand how community property is divided and that your property rights are protected. At Wallin & Klarich, we have helped people with property division issue for over 30 years. We can help you today.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Victorville, West Covina, Sherman Oaks, Torrance and Ventura , there is a Wallin & Klarich attorney available wherever you happen to live. We will get through this together.
Call us at (888) 749-7428 or fill out our online consultation form to get in contact with a Wallin & Klarich property division attorney