Division of Marital Assets
California is a community property state, meaning all assets acquired during the marriage — including increased value of assets brought to the marriage — are included in the “marital pot.” At CASTILLO & ASSOCIATES we are experienced in the valuation and division of assets in the divorce property settlement, and we often retain forensic accountants and other professionals to value pension plans, stocks and stock options, homes and other real estate, and business ownership interests.
In California, Family Code section 910 provides that the community is liable for all debts incurred during the marriage and prior to separation. It doesn’t matter whether the debt was incurred by one spouse for his or her own benefit or for the family. It also doesn’t matter whose name appears on the bill or the credit card statements. If it was incurred during the marriage and prior to separation, it’s a community property debt and both spouses are equally liable.
In California, most property acquired after the marriage is considered community property, which is evenly divided during a divorce.
760. Except as otherwise provided by statute, all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state is community property.
Property obtained prior to a marriage is considered separate property. These concepts, while seemingly simple, can often be subject to interpretation and require an attorney who is familiar with the legal intricacies to ensure your property is fairly divided.
Complicated assets, tracing issues as the source of funds used to acquire the assets, business interests, professional practices, retirement plan benefits, and personal investments are all issues that can arise making the process more difficult.
770. (a) Separate property of a married person includes all of the following:
(1) All property owned by the person before marriage.
(2) All property acquired by the person after marriage by gift, bequest, devise, or descent.
(3) The rents, issues, and profits of the property described in this section.
(b) A married person may, without the consent of the person’s spouse, convey the person’s separate property.
771. (a) The earnings and accumulations of a spouse and the minor children living with, or in the custody of, the spouse, while living
separate and apart from the other spouse, are the separate property
of the spouse.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the earnings and accumulations of an unemancipated minor child related to a contract of a type described in Section 6750 shall remain the sole legal property of the minor child.
772. After entry of a judgment of legal separation of the parties, the earnings or accumulations of each party are the separate property of the party acquiring the earnings or accumulations.
850. Subject to Sections 851 to 853, inclusive, married persons may by agreement or transfer, with or without consideration, do any of the following:
(a) Transmute community property to separate property of either spouse.
(b) Transmute separate property of either spouse to community property.
(c) Transmute separate property of one spouse to separate property of the other spouse.
851. A transmutation is subject to the laws governing fraudulent transfers.
852. (a) A transmutation of real or personal property is not valid unless made in writing by an express declaration that is made, joined in, consented to, or accepted by the spouse whose interest in the property is adversely affected.
CASTILLO & ASSOCIATES is very skilled in determining the character of your assets and ensuring that you receive what is rightfully yours.