Division of Property
You worked hard to acquire your home, car, savings, retirement assets, household furnishings, and personal belongings. The thought of dividing such assets can be emotionally painful, as well as a financially stressful process. However, the general rule under California law is that property and debts acquired during a marriage or domestic partnership are equally owned by both spouses (“community property”). “Community Property”, by law, is equally divided (in terms of total net value) between the spouses. The parties may equally divide each type of “community” asset and debt; or, one spouse/partner may retain one asset in exchange for the other spouse/partner retaining a different asset with equal value.
Does the general rule apply to everything acquired during marriage/registration? Absolutely not! Laws affecting the division of community property are complex and multi-layered. The unique facts of each case determine the outcome. For example, when “separate property” (property acquired outside of marriage or registered domestic partnership) is mixed with “community property” (property acquired during the marriage or domestic partnership), the general rule does not apply.
After the property division process is determined through an agreement or a trial, the terms are set forth in a document called a Judgment. The language of this document is critical to ensuring that the terms are clear to the parties, as well as any judge who might be needed in the future to enforce the Judgment.
Having an experienced family law lawyer on your side is crucial to helping you understand how the various statutes and court decisions apply to the unique details of your case. Leigh A. Kretzschmar is a qualified and competent attorney who can help you make informed, sensible decisions and protect your interests. Leigh A. Kretzschmar is experienced in dividing a wide range of property types, including retirement assets, stock options, small business interests, and homes; and, in drafting enforceable Judgments which protect the interests of her clients.