In a California divorce, the value of your marital property and assets is divided evenly. But while this equitable law is in place to level the playing field, many couples find the result to be undesirable. Maybe you got the car, but he got that beautiful art piece you bought years back. She may have gotten that vintage piece of sports memorabilia you bought during the course of the marriage, but she doesn’t even like baseball. In other words, California’s 50-50 law can be too black and white at times.
However, you’re not without options. By mediating your property division with a Mission Viejo divorce attorney, you and your spouse can reach a mutually agreeable settlement without a judge calling the shots. But first, it’s important to understand the caveats to property division in California.
How Property Is Divided In California
California is a community property state, rather than an equitable distribution state, meaning any assets or property acquired during your marriage is split equally between you and your ex-spouse. In other words, you and your ex-spouse are entitled to 50% of marital property. This goes for anything – property, money, businesses – as long as it was gained during the course of the marriage. Separate property, on the other hand, includes all items or assets that each spouse has brought into the marriage. These assets are kept by the party who originally owned or bought it.
Some items can’t be split into two, such as that vintage coffee table you bought years back, or a flat-screen TV, for example. However this isn’t exactly how marital property works. Rather, the 50-50 split applies to the value of your possessions. If you’re a couple with $200,000 of shared possessions, you should each receive $100,000 in assets. They may get the car and furniture, but you get the boat. In the end, you’ll each get an equal share of marital property, while keeping your own separate assets.
Who Decides How Marital Property Is Divided?
While a judge will ultimately decide how your marital property is divided, there are a couple scenarios that provide you more control. A prenuptial agreement is the first route. If you and your spouse had previously drafted and agreed to a premarital agreement which outlines how property would be divided in a divorce, your terms should take effect once the marriage has dissolved. This could end up with a property split that isn’t equally divided.
Mediating Your Property Division
Secondly, couples can opt to negotiate their divorce settlement agreement outside of the courtroom, which may or may not yield a 50-50 split. This is a far more flexible option that doesn’t rely on potentially outdated terms in your prenup, while keeping the decision in your hands rather than a judge’s. A popular way to go about this is through mediation. Mediating the division of your marital property lets you and your spouse customize your property settlement in a creative way that works best for both parties, while nixing the anxiety of attending court.
Does your property division settlement require a more creative approach? Oftentimes, California’s equitable community property laws yield undesired results. Instead, consider mediating your property division with a Mission Viejo divorce attorney for a settlement that benefits all parties involved.
Mediate Your Property Division with a Mission Viejo Divorce Attorney
Divorce is an emotional journey to endure. On top of the bitterness and anger which often result from a formal separation, the subsequent legal battles tend to make the whole process even more painful. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction so that they can finally move on to their next chapter. We can help with that. No matter your desired path – divorce mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services or contact us online for a free consultation.