Westlake Village Property Division Attorney

One of the most important aspects of a divorce is property division. However, this is also one of the most contentious issues in a separation process. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, our qualified and experienced team is ready to work on your case. Our Westlake Village property division attorneys will handle every aspect of your case and provide skilled representation throughout the divorce process.

Property division must be taken seriously

Property division affects most marriages. California is considered a community property state, meaning all property acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses. When a divorce occurs, the property must be equitably distributed. This does not mean the property will be split equally between spouses. Instead, the division of property must be fair for both sides and as equal as possible.

Most divorcing couples have varying types of assets that must be separated. This can include the following:

  • The marital home
  • Secondary or vacation homes
  • Any other real estate
  • Retirement accounts, pensions, IRAs, 401(k)s
  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds
  • Vehicles, RVs, and boats
  • Furniture, artwork, collectibles

Some couples only have a few assets that must be divided, while others have more complex issues. Properly dividing assets may require that one spouse buy the other out. It could also mean that the property must be sold, and the proceeds split between the parties.

The exception to property division is any property considered “separate.” For this to be the case, the property must have been acquired before the marriage and not commingled with marital assets. Inheritances and gifts acquired by one spouse during the marriage are also considered separate property.

Any debts acquired during the marriage will also need to be divided. This can include the following:

  • Credit cards
  • Mortgages
  • Tax debt
  • Personal loans
  • Installment loans
  • Automobile loans
  • Student loans

Division of Community Property in Westlake Village: What You Can’t Do

Understanding the nuances of property division when getting a divorce can be challenging. Enlisting the help of a qualified Westlake Village property division attorney is one easy way to ensure everything is clear.

For example, specific actions regarding community property cannot be taken when you are getting a divorce. Your Westlake Village property division lawyer will explain this topic in greater detail if you have any questions.

For example, under California law, when two spouses are getting a divorce, neither one can sell or give away any piece of community property without first getting explicit permission from the other spouse to do so. Additionally, neither spouse can borrow against a piece of community property after a divorce petition has been filed.

Remember that a judge will be legally required to participate in allocating community property. A prenuptial agreement or other qualifying written agreement must be in place to avoid this requirement.

Transactions involving separate property are limited but significantly restricted once divorce proceedings have begun. For example, restrictions may be placed on selling separately owned real estate once the divorce has been finalized.

Separate Property Becoming Community Property: A Westlake Village Property Defense Attorney Explains

Pieces of separate property may not be considered separate property permanently if two spouses do not wish them to be. However, changing the title of an individual property can turn it into community property.

This is another complexity you need to be aware of and understand if you get a divorce. When your marriage was new or still going well, you might have felt comfortable turning a piece of separate property into a community property. However, now that you are getting a divorce, you might not wish to have done so, given that this property will be included in the allocation of community property proceedings.

However, for separate property to have been turned into community property in a means considered legally valid, the agreement to change the title or add a spouse’s name to the title must be in writing. There is theoretically a possibility that you didn’t properly turn your separate property into community property because you didn’t correctly draft and file the necessary written documents. While this would have technically qualified as a mistake at the time you thought you were turning separate property into community property, it could be seen as beneficial now that you are getting a divorce because a Westlake Village property division lawyer could show that the property in question doesn’t legally qualify as community property.

On the other hand, perhaps your spouse is arguing that community property is separate property when you know that’s not the case because you legally turned it into community property in the past. In this instance, your lawyer could help you by showing you how to properly and officially alter the property’s status.

Of course, ideally, these types of disputes regarding whether property does or does not qualify as community property will be avoided when spouses are divorcing one another. This highlights another reason to coordinate with a Westlake Village property division law firm in these circumstances. They can help couples avoid these disputes from the start.

Mediation could be an option

One option we offer when dividing assets is family law mediation. Using a mediator could be a less emotional and more affordable way to go through this process. However, mediation only works if both spouses wish to keep the matter out of court and can agree amicably.

It is time to get help for your divorce

Going through a divorce is stressful and complicated, particularly regarding property division. It would be best if you always had a skilled attorney by your side, and the team at the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch is ready to help. We will handle all aspects of your divorce case and work to ensure you are treated fairly. The property division may require extensive investigation, and we will deploy all our resources to address your case. Our Westlake Village property division attorneys deeply understand these cases, so you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 818-707-0202.

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