Articles Posted in Community Property

porscheIn a case in which the couple has considerable assets, one of the bigger challenges can be dividing the community estate. In one divorce that involved a high-value community estate and allegations of hidden assets, the Sixth District Court of Appeal reversed a trial court’s order that divided the estate. The trial court’s division improperly gave the wife duplicative benefits regarding certain assets when the statute did not allow the wife to receive such benefits.

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moneyIn family law cases, as with many areas of life, one can sometimes lose an individual battle but still achieve a larger outcome of success in the end. In a recent example, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed a trial court’s ruling that raised an ex-husband’s spousal support obligation to make up for the man’s declining receipt of future military pension payments. The ex-wife was not allowed to receive this money as spousal support because the law doesn’t allow judges to increase spousal support just to make up for lost community property interests. The ex-wife was entitled to receive this money, but it just could not be in the form of spousal support.

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signatureWhen you go through a divorce process in California, there potentially are many things to address. One of these may be whether or not you and your spouse have any community property. Sometimes, the identification of the status of a property can be murky, especially if a community asset’s sale may not have been valid. In a recent case involving two apartment buildings sold using a forged deed, the courts were asked to decide whether the sale was valid. In this case, the Second District Court of Appeal ruled that the wife couldn’t challenge a forged deed because she had pro-actively taken many steps that blocked her from going back and arguing that the sale should be invalidated and the buildings deemed to be omitted community assets.

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Almond orchardWhen a couple goes through a divorce process in California, there are three types of assets they may have:  the first spouse’s separate property, the second spouse’s separate property, and community property. If the classification of each of your assets is completely black and white, agreeing on a division of property in your divorce may be relatively straightforward. But few things in life are ever all black and white. What happens if the couple took money from a community asset and invested it in improving an asset that was one of the spouses’ separate property? That was the issue recently before the Fifth District Court of Appeal, which decided that such a scenario gave the community a right of reimbursement, and that right, when not accounted for in the couple’s divorce judgment, gave the wife a valid cause for action under the statute governing unadjudicated assets.

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dollar armyParties are encouraged to reach agreement on as many issues as possible in divorce cases. When the couple is able to do this, they tend to be more in control of the ultimate outcome. Furthermore, such an agreement or stipulation typically leads to a shorter, less costly, and more amicable resolution. For the most part, courts look to approve such agreements in order to resolve the case as efficiently as possible. But the stipulation must adhere to applicable legal standards. In order to ensure that any agreement you enter into in divorce protects your rights and will stand up to court approval, you are encouraged to contact a local San Diego family law attorney as soon as possible.

A recent California divorce case involved the trial court’s rejection of a stipulation entered into by the parties prior to trial. Here, the wife filed for dissolution of the marriage in June 2009. The husband moved out of the family home in April 2010. There were two trials. The first took place in April 2011, dissolving the marriage and allocating support and child custody. The second addressed the division of assets, which is the subject of the matter at hand.

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InvestingCalifornia divorce law explicitly states that as a general rule, property acquired by couples during a marriage is community property, subject to division. And while this rule seems fairly straightforward, virtually no divorce case is without complications when it comes to the division of property. As the parties are separating and beginning to consider their new future, each spouse will most certainly try to preserve and protect their separate financial interests moving forward. To be sure your rights are protected throughout your divorce proceeding, it is imperative that you contact a local family law lawyer from the San Diego area.

Property subject to division in divorce includes bank accounts, the marital home, other real estate interests, investment accounts, and many other items. In order to allocate assets and debts in divorce, courts must determine what is separate versus community property. While the timing of the acquisition is of primary importance, additional factors may affect the characterization of property. For instance, assets may have been accumulated during the marriage, but what happens if one spouse used their own, separate funds initially to acquire that jointly held property?

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Mortgage FeeThe marital home is typically one of the most valuable assets to be divided in divorce. In California, unless the spouses agree on the division of community (or marital) property, courts will endeavor to allocate evenly the assets and debts that have been accumulated during the marriage. It is important to keep in mind that parties must pay close attention to whether assets (and debts) are characterized as separate versus community property, since only community property is divisible in divorce. The division of marital property has a tendency to affect both parties financially after divorce. For this reason alone, you are encouraged to contact a local San Diego family law attorney if you are considering divorce.

Interestingly enough, some property may be made up of both separate and community property. A good example of this is a marital home that was purchased prior to a marriage by one spouse. When the couple gets married, they may both make mortgage payments to reduce the loan amount. So what happens to the home in divorce? Under established California law, when community property is applied to reduce the balance of a mortgage on one party’s separate property, the “community” acquires a “pro tanto” interest in the property.

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law-library-282848-mMany couples that make the decision to separate and pursue a divorce do so with the assistance of counsel. And in cases involving the custody and general welfare of children, most would strongly recommend consulting with a family lawyer first. Going through a divorce proceeding, by its very nature, will disrupt your life and require you to consider and address important, life-changing issues. Because the outcome of a divorce proceeding can have lasting financial and legal implications, it is extremely important to protect your rights. And, since local state laws apply to dissolution proceedings, you are encouraged to reach out to a nearby San Diego family law attorney as soon as possible.

Attorneys who represent parties in divorce cases before a California court are expected to follow the local State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Rules”). In a recent divorce case, the husband argued that wife’s counsel violated one of the Rules during the couple’s proceedings. Here, the court awarded wife the marital home, with the express condition that she was expected to list the property for sale immediately – in order to terminate husband’s share of the mortgage obligation (or “community debt” on the property). During the time that the property was on the market and in escrow, wife failed to pay some of the mortgage payments. The Bank recorded a default notice and initiated a foreclosure proceeding.

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red-symbols-1-1237216 (1).jpgOne of the biggest issues in divorce that tends to affect the parties’ relative financial positions going forward is the identification and division of marital property. Determining what is separate rather than community property can become quite complicated. Consider that in many cases, as people are getting married later in life, each party may bring to the marriage an assortment of separate assets and debts. Upon marriage, the question of what happens to each person’s separate property is not necessarily clear. Much depends on the explicit actions and declarations of the parties. If you are considering a divorce, it is extremely important that you assess the state of your marital and separate property as early in the process as possible. In order to effectively address these issues, you are encouraged to contact a local San Diego family law attorney.

In divorce proceedings, parties often are unable to come to an agreement as to the character of certain assets and debts. When this occurs, courts have the authority to step in to identify and divide the marital property. In a recent California divorce case, the court of appeals was asked to decide whether the husband had “transmuted” his separate property to community property, for purposes of asset and debt distribution. There are state laws that address this very situation and must be analyzed to determine the appropriate outcome in each case.
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red-symbols-1-1237216.jpgUnder California law, community property is defined as property acquired during the marriage (with certain limited exceptions). Property acquired prior to the marriage is presumptively considered separate property. Virtually every divorce proceeding involves the division of community property, to some degree. Of course, each case is unique in terms of the extent of property subject to division and the method of valuation of the assets in question. The importance of accurately identifying, characterizing, and valuing such property cannot be overstated. Accordingly, parties who are considering divorce are encouraged to contact an experienced San Diego family law attorney who can guide you through this extremely important part of any divorce case.

In a recent, complicated California divorce case, the parties argued over many financial issues, including whether the business founded by the husband before the marriage was subject to division as marital (community property) in divorce. The trial court awarded the husband the business as his separate property and also awarded the “community” an equitable allocation under two different prior court rulings. Among other things, the wife argued that the court erred by not concluding that the community owns all or most of the business in question. She claimed that the company became an entirely new business during the marriage, thus losing its characterization as separate property.
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