During a divorce, you have to settle your debt and property arrangements. This can be incredibly complicated, depending on what you own and how it’s currently divided. Before you file your paperwork with the court, it’s a good idea to talk to your attorney to make sure every asset and debt is listed correctly. This is particularly important if you have anything of significant value to disclose.

What is property?

Property includes anything of value or that can be bought or sold. For instance, cars, bank accounts, patents and stocks are all types of property. In California, all property obtained during marriage, for the most part, is considered marital property and is divided equally upon divorce. If you and your spouse want to divide your property or debts differently, then you need to do so before filing your court documents. When you file your agreement with the court, the judge will still make sure it’s an acceptable division of assets and debts.

It’s wise to set aside the assets that are not community property first. Anything you own from before your marriage or those items you bought with separate funds from an inheritance may qualify as separate assets.

During a divorce, you may not want to give up everything you’ve purchased or shared during a marriage. Keep in mind that California’s laws make it hard to do anything but split your assets unless you can work with your spouse to create a better settlement. Your attorney can help you discuss the possibility, so you can walk away with your fair share of assets.

Source: California Courts, “Property and Debt in a Divorce or Legal Separation,” accessed March 15, 2018

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