San Diego Asset Division Attorney

Let an Experienced and Analytical Lawyer Help You Negotiate Your Property Division

One important divorce matter is the property division settlement. Especially if you and your spouse have high net worth assets involved in both your marriage and outside of your marriage, you will need an experienced lawyer to help you arrange your financial needs and negotiate a favorable property settlement. At Leigh K. Galyon, APC, we have been representing clients for over 16 years and take an analytical and direct approach to all our legal cases. You can trust us to handle your division of assets professionally and knowledgeably as you and your family deserve.

Give us a call at (619) 238-1223 or contact Leigh K. Galyon, APC online for more information.

Community Property vs. Separate Property

Divorcing spouses must decide how to divide their marital property and debts. Some couples are able to settle such an agreement on their own or in mediation, but others may have to proceed to litigation. In any case, there are 3 crucial steps to the property division process:

  1. Determining whether the property (or debt) is community or separate.
  2. Agreeing on a value for community property.
  3. Deciding how exactly to divide the property.

Note that under California's community property laws, assets and debts spouses acquire during marriage belong equally to both of them, so they must be divided 50/50 in a divorce and are considered community property (Cal. Fam. Code § 2581). 

Property that one spouse owned alone, before the marriage, or acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage, though, is considered that spouse's separate property. Separate property also generally includes earnings on separate property and any increase in the value of separate property. Separate property belongs exclusively to the spouse who owns it and is not typically divided in a divorce. Note that Cal. Fam. Code § 2622 establishes that property spouses acquire before a divorce but after the date of separation (the date one spouse decides to end the marriage) is separate property. 

In certain situations, separate property might become community property if they combine – or "commingle" – separate property with marital property. For example, a house owned by one spouse can become marital property if both spouses pay the mortgage and other expenses. 

Distinguishing community property from separate property can become complicated, especially if one spouse owns an asset to which the other contributed labor or funds while married. It is best to consult an experienced property division lawyer for legal advice about how to proceed under California’s community property laws.

Complex Financial Assets

Our firm has particularly extensive experience in handling high asset property division. One important step to the property division process is assigning a monetary value to each item of property to be divided. These appraisals can help a couple determine the value of real property as well as items like antiques or artwork. When it comes to complex financial estates, you will need a detailed and analytical attorney like Leigh K. Galyon to ensure the division is handled fairly and equitably. Visit our page on Complex Financial Estates to learn more.

Division Options

Once spouses decide on the assigned values for their property, they can determine how they wish to specifically divide the property. For instance, one spouse might allow the other to "buy out" their share of an asset or sell the assets and divide the proceeds. They can also agree to hold property together after the divorce, though this will work best with spouses who are cooperative. One example of this might be if the parents decide to keep a family home until their children are out of school. Others may do so to hold onto investment property that they hope will increase in value.

Spouses must also assign all debts accrued during their marriage, such as mortgages, car loans, and credit card debts, to one of the spouses. Be aware that a separation agreement or divorce order is not binding on creditors, so they may continue trying to collect a debt from either spouse.

If you have further questions about asset division in San Diego, contact Leigh J. Galyon, APC for legal guidance. She can help ensure that property is divided in your best interests, especially in high net worth cases. Call (619) 238-1223 or reach out to our firm online today.

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