Property division in California divorces include assets and debts
It can be very hard for spouses to admit to one another that the marriage is not working out. No matter what steps the couple takes, they may find that they are unable to make the marriage last. While deciding to get a divorce is an incredibly difficult decision, many spouses long for the relief that they may feel once the divorce is over.
Most people are not exactly sure what happens once they file for divorce in California. If the couple has children, they may try to work out a child custody agreement to prevent the matter from decided by the courts. Additionally, the couple will also need to work out a property division agreement as well.
California considers any property acquired during the marriage to be marital property, with few exceptions. This includes any income earned from working, retirement accounts as well as ownership interests in any businesses that the couple may have. If the couple has extensive assets and investments, it is more likely that this portion of the divorce can become very complex and contentious.
Marital property not only includes assets, but also includes that the debts that the parties accumulated during the marriage. If one of the spouses incurred high credit card debt, the debt will be attributed to both parties during the divorce. The division of these debts can lead to serious problems when trying to make an agreement.
Many property division settlement agreements become challenging when attempting to determine what will happen to the family home. Real estate values across California have dropped substantially in the recent recession, and it may take decades to increase in value. Many homeowners bought when values were at their highest, counting on the property to appreciate in value.
In the past, spouses often argued about who would get to keep the house. Now, both sides generally want to be out from the mortgage. The couple may try to sell the home, with both sides having to incur some debt if the sale does not raise enough money to pay off the remaining balance. It is important that couples consider this issue at the time they create their property settlement agreements.
Should the spouses fail to find a way to divide their property equitably, the court could enter an order that will determine which spouse will receive specific properties and debts. This can leave both parties feeling powerless, and ultimately unhappy with the order that is entered.
If you are considering a divorce, you need to know what to expect during the entire process. Failing to properly address the concerns that arise at this time can cause significant problems in the future. Speak to an experienced family law attorney to learn more about the options available. You need someone who can help you protect your interests during this difficult time.