How Is Property Divided During A California Divorce?

Divorce in California can be a complex and confusing process, especially if you and your soon-to-be ex have to divide several valuable assets or property. While some couples are able to reach an agreement regarding property division through negotiations ― and the help of their attorneys ― others require the court's assistance. Either option, however, typically requires the examination of several important factors.

First, you must determine which assets and property must be divided. Essentially, any income earned, assets obtained or debt acquired by either spouse during the marriage are considered community property under California law, and thus subject to division. Conversely, property owned prior to marriage ― or property acquired by gift or inheritance during marriage ― is separate property and not subject to division.

Once you identify all community property, it must then be properly valued and divided equally between you and your ex. In California, there are many types of assets and debts divided during divorce proceedings, including:

  • Homes and vacations properties
  • Cars
  • Bank accounts and cash
  • Pensions and 401(k)s
  • Stocks and investment accounts
  • Businesses
  • Credit card debt

It is important to remember that California law does not require you to actually divide each physical asset equally, but instead that the net value of the assets awarded to you and your ex are equal. For instance, one spouse may be awarded the home while the other is given bank accounts and stock to offset the difference.

This division process can become quite complicated when dealing with significant assets, such as businesses ― particularly when a business was owned by one spouse prior to marriage (separate property), but increased in value during the marriage (possible community property).

If you are contemplating divorce and have questions about property division in California, contact the Law Office of Susan J. Gurev, APLC. Attorney Susan Gurev has been helping guide individuals through divorce in Southern California for more than 10 years, so let her put her experience to work for you. We offer reduced rate consultations over the phone and in our Tustin office. To schedule a consultation, reach out to us online or call us at 657-212-9661.

What Is A QDRO, And Do I Need One?

If you going through divorce and want to ensure that you receive a fair portion of you and your spouse's retirement accounts ― including pensions and 401(k)s ― you may need to get a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). In the most basic terms, a QDRO is a court order that tells the administrator of your retirement plans how to divide the plan between you and your ex-spouse.

It is imperative that QDROs are comprehensive and accurate, otherwise you risk losing retirement assets. Fortunately, lawyer Susan Gurev has a great deal of experience with QDROs. Contact her today to learn how she can help you.