Property Division Lawyers in Pasadena
Our Family Law Firm Protects Your Property Interests in a Divorce
Throughout a marriage, spouses accumulate shared property and debts that must be divided between them in a divorce. This property is either community property or, if out-of-state, may be quasi-community property. Secondly, spouses often have separate property accumulated before marriage or during marriage by gift or inheritance. A hybrid category of property is called "mixed," and is property that is part community and part separate. Lastly, property is often held with third parties, such as business partners or family members. The division of all of these types of assets and debts may be a source of tension and emotional friction, and handled incorrectly, could make the process lengthier, costlier, and more difficult.
Our divorce attorneys understand the stress and frustration that comes with dividing property and will be your advocates to help protect your interests and facilitate negotiations or trial.
At Gille Law Group, our divorce lawyers have proven expertise in complex property division. We use meticulous methods for retrieving and cataloging documents, conducting all necessary discovery, issuing subpoeanas, and interviewing witnesses to solve your disputed property claims. Specific property and debts to be divided may include business holdings, partnerships, real estate, stock portfolios and options, investment earnings, bank accounts, vehicles, collectables, credit card debt, and all types of valuable personal property. We will guide you and your accountants or agents through every step of the divorce process to ensure that you are able to reach an agreeable and swift resolution or have the strongest case for trial.
Tips for Amicably Dividing Assets
If you want to bypass a contested divorce and avoid the stress of court interference, you and your spouse may be able to negotiate a Marital Settlement Agreement that includes all property to be divided. Once all of the necessary documentation and analyses are completed, the property division often does not need to be tried in front of a judge.
If dividing assets in an uncontested divorce, the following measures should be taken:
- Take inventory of all your assets
- Be honest and transparent about your property
- Assign monetary value to each item
- Determine ownership where logical
- Mutually decide to sell certain assets and equally divide the proceeds
- Use definitive, neutral methods to divide remaining property, avoiding continued co-ownership
Of course, it is not always easy to remain amicable in such an emotionally charged time. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement, your divorce will go to trial where a judge will determine how your property will be divided based on California law and the evidence we collect during the discovery process.
Cases with Complex Assets
For complex cases involving a significant amount of assets, property characterization will likley be in dispute. To determine whether property is separate, community, mixed, or a combination thereof, each disputed property must be properly characterized and supported by evidence related to, for example, the source of funding, the validity of a transmutation or real propoerty conveyance, business valuation, the long-term value of growing assets, the present value of deferred-sale real property, and deferred compensation such as pensions and other retirement plans. We will zealously advocate for your property interests so that you are not left with an unfair property division at final judgment.
Assets in a complex property division hearing can include:
- Businesses assets
- Businesses and investment properties that appreciate over time
- Income producing property
- Stocks, stock options and investments
- Multiple streams of income
- Future bonus income and other deferred compensation
- Undisclosed properties or cash
- Assets with value that is difficult to measure
- Tax liens
In cases involving these kinds of assets, our experienced attorneys can make sure that our investigation is thorough, ensuring that all property is accounted for and properly divided.
Community vs. Separate Property
The first step in property division when administered by a court is determining which assets are considered to be "community property" and which are considered to be "separate."
Essentially, any property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage or inherited or received as a gift, unless transmuted, is considered to be that spouse's own separate property. All property earned, purchased, or accrued by the couple over the course of their marriage is presumptively community property.
In a contested divorce, community property will generally be divided equally. However, this does not always necessarily mean that each asset will be split evenly. For example, one spouse might get the couple's shared house while the other gets the business, or various smaller assets that equal the house's value. In other scenarios, a couple might choose to sell real property or stocks and divide the earnings equally.
Put Our Experience on Your Side
At Gille Law Group, our team of legal professionals is experienced and meticulous. We are dedicated to helping all of our clients reach favorable resolutions in their divorce proceedings. Our Pasadena divorce lawyers offer compassionate, but assertive, legal counsel that you can trust. We treat each of our clients with the individual attention and care that they need and deserve. We will take the time to get to know you in order to help you make the best informed decisions.
Call us today to take the first step and schedule your initial consultation.