How Property and Debts are Divided During Divorce

Bare bone basics of property division

January 22, 2020

If you are going through a divorce, you may be wondering how the marital property, assets, and debt will be divided between you and your spouse. Any property, asset, or debt acquired during the marriage is likely to be considered marital assets and debts by the State of California. Learn how property, assets, and debts can be divided during your divorce to ensure your financial and legal rights are protected.

Assessing Value

Unless the property or assets in question were covered by a pre-nuptial agreement or were an absolute gift directly and only to you during the marriage, they will likely be deemed marital property. If spouses cannot agree on the value of the property or assets, an independent professional appraiser or financial professional may have to be hired to conduct a valuation. Debt is easier to value; however, the division of debt can be legally complex as well.

Division of Property

There are several ways to divide property and assets in a California divorce. Property can be divided in equal amounts to each spouse, or the property can be sold with a division of the proceeds going to each spouse. In some cases, the property could continue to be owned by both spouses after the divorce in order to obtain the financial benefit of the increase in value over time. If the determination is to have both parties continue to own the property, both spouses would have to agree to this scenario.

Division of Debt

Marital debt is typically less difficult to assess. Debt acquired in a marriage can include a mortgage, credit card debt or car loans. Any debts that are acquired during a marriage are considered marital debts. The debt will typically be split fairly between both spouses, and the court will use its discretion to determine how the debt was incurred or assign the debt to the spouse who has ownership of a particular piece of property, such as a car.

However, it is important that even if the court divided the debt, a creditor still has the legal right to hold both parties jointly liable and responsible for any debts to which they are both named and listed as a debtor. It is always wise to consider closing any jointly owned credit card accounts prior to the divorce process in order to avoid any potentially challenging legal joint liabilities for debt incurred.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

The division of property and assets can be one of the most legally challenging and complex aspects of a divorce. Both parties are already in an adversarial situation, and the attempt at division can prove frustrating and difficult. If you are considering a divorce and have concerns regarding how your property, assets, and debts will be divided with your spouse, contact an experienced family law attorney at the Law Offices of Hollie A. Lemkin at (949) 734-7300 or online today to help you ensure that your property and financial assets and legal rights are protected.

Call today to speak with Hollie A. Lemkin to discuss your questions & issues!


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