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Getting Divorced in the State of California?

Work with a Local San Jose Property Division Attorney Today

It is not uncommon for newlyweds to combine their properties and assets (including personal debts) when they get married. During the duration of their marriage, the couple will undoubtedly make purchases together or even share a large investment, such as a business or a house. These and other factors make the division of property — which includes cumulative debt — one of the most important aspects to consider when a couple decides to separate or divorce . The different types of property and debt that the couple may have accumulated over the duration of the marriage can be considerable; this can easily make division of property a complex issue during the divorce process.

This often emotional and stressful impact tends to add more complexity to the division of property and debt process. For these and other reasons, it is highly recommended that you hire effective legal representation that is well versed in California community property laws. At the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, LLP., we are local San Jose property division attorneys who understand the substantial impact that the division of property and debt can have on your life. We have a combined experience of 25 years and speak six languages — including Czech, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. We offer genuine care for your interests and do everything in our power to protect your best interests.

What Are the Types of Property Division?

Married couples who make the decision to divorce often have to deal with many financial and property-related issues. The three key issues that arise during property and debt division are:

  • Property Division – The state of California recognizes all property as either communal or individual property. This means that property either belongs to both spouses and must be considered “community property” or it is owned by one individual spouse.
  • Division of Debts – California is a community property state. This means that any property — from a house to regular paychecks to a 401k — as well as debts (or other financial obligations) that are accumulated during the marriage, even by one partner, are considered to be owned by both people.
  • Division of Assets – If there is an abundance of property or high value items, asset division can be a rather complicated process. The most typical assets that will be on the table during these negotiations are:
    • Residences
    • Cars
    • Boats
    • Retirement/ pension plans
    • Stocks and/or bonds
    • Deferred compensation

The types of assets that will be discussed during your divorce proceedings can be affected by prenuptial agreements or other legal arrangements made prior to or during marriage to your spouse.

What Are California’s Community Property Laws?

In California, you are not required to go through each individual object or real estate property while discussing property division. The fact that it is a “community property” state means that all assets or income acquired during marriage will be on the table during divorce proceedings.

There are four general types of property discussed during property division negotiations:

  1. Community Property – According to California state law, community property includes any assets or income acquired during a marriage that cannot be considered a gift or inheritance. The division of community property is usually decided based on a prenuptial agreement if one is signed prior to marriage. If no prenuptial agreement exists, then the community property is divided based on total fair market price.
  2. Quasi-Community Property – The California Courts state that quasi-community property is “any type of property that was acquired by either one or both spouses or domestic partners when living in another state that, had it been acquired while living in California, it would have been considered community property.”
  3. Separate Property – This type of property includes anything that either spouse owned prior to marriage. Note that property you bought with separate assets, such as an inheritance, is considered separate property as well.
  4. “Commingling” property – Commingling property is any property that is a combination of community and separate property. An example of commingling property is when one spouse sold a house they owned previously in order to put a down payment on a house they shared with their soon-to-be divorced spouse. When this type of property is involved, it can be that much more complicated to figure out how it should be divided.

Discuss Division of Property with a Lawyer in San Jose

Dividing marital property can be achieved without taking the matter before a judge or court. Even in these cases, having a knowledgeable legal professional on your side can benefit you. A San Jose property division attorney can help ensure that your needs are protected, and no mistakes are made. Call (408) 296-4100 or contact us online to learn about how our attorneys can help you.