Property Division & Divorce Attorney Los Angeles | The Law Offices of Nigel Burns

Property Division Lawyer

Why Hiring A Property Division Lawyer During Your Divorce Is Important

When you are in the midst of a divorce, many important issues may arise where there is significant disagreement between you and your spouse. One of these is how property will be divided up between the two of you, since this can greatly determine the standard of living each of you will be able to enjoy post-divorce. However, since California is one of less than 10 U.S. states that are community property states, it will be crucial you hire a property division lawyer in Los Angeles who not only understands this process, but is also willing to fight hard to make sure your rights and property are protected during the divorce in California. As to why hiring the right attorney is so important in these matters, here are some of the most common reasons.

Community Property Laws

When you hire a legal professional from Burns Law, they will immediately explain what is involved with regards to community property laws. In essence, all marital property will be divided 50-50 between you and your spouse, no matter the circumstances. Thus, even if you were the breadwinner for your family over the years and are responsible for the assets you and your family now have, your spouse will be entitled to 50% of everything the two of you own. Unfortunately, this also applies to any debts incurred during the marriage. Therefore, if your spouse accumulated thousands of dollars in debt unbeknownst to you, the court will likely rule you are partially responsible for helping to pay off the debts. Since there may be unusual circumstances that led to such situations, always turn to an attorney to argue your case in court and get you the results you seek.

Dissipation of Assets

In some situations where a divorce is contentious, a dissipation of assets may take place courtesy of your soon to be ex-spouse. When this happens, they may attempt to hide assets, transfer them to friends or other family members, or grossly misrepresent the actual worth of certain assets. If you believe this is taking place, you do have options. By hiring a family law attorney in Los Angeles who has experience working with forensic accountants and certified appraisers, you can be sure any attempts at asset dissipation will be detected and halted as quickly as possible.

Pre and Post-Nuptial Agreements

To avoid the possibility of losing assets for which you worked hard and are entitled to following your divorce, your legal counsel may recommend you have a pre or post-nuptial agreement in place with your spouse prior to or shortly after you get married. By having such an agreement in place, you can be sure all terms of property and asset division are clearly spelled out. However, even with such agreements, it is possible one spouse may claim they did not understand the terms of the agreement, were forced to sign it under duress, or other related issues. If this should happen during your divorce, discuss the matter with a lawyer that can handle the situation with professionalism.

Separate Property

Since California is a community property state and will only consider some property to be separate if a pre or post-nuptial agreement is in place, it will be vital you work with an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of how this process works. As for what property could be considered separate property and thus be excluded from any property division procedures, these can include property clearly owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, property inherited by a spouse prior to or after the marriage, and any earnings that were acquired while a legal separation was in place. Unfortunately, since money is always a prime source of contention during divorce proceedings, don't expect your spouse to go quietly on this matter.

While this sounds like a weird science experiment, transmutation is actually the legal process of converting separate property into community property. Done through the consent of both spouses, most instances involve doing so with real estate or motor vehicles via title change. However, it is important to remember that while this process can be used to make separate property into community property, it can also do the opposite and make community property into separate property. Should you do so prior to or during your divorce, expect the court to take a long, hard look at the transaction to make sure it is indeed legal and that both parties did in fact agree to the change. Due to the court possibly having questions about this, refer to a legal professional who has years of experience in this area and can clearly explain to the court what took place.

Complex Property Divisions

While it is certainly not an easy task to divide up such property as real estate and motor vehicles, it becomes even more complex when other types of property are involved in a divorce. These include retirement accounts, stocks and investment portfolios, businesses, pensions, and other similar types of property. The value of such assets and property can run into the thousands or even millions of dollars. Your lawyer will consult with experts such as a CPA who is trained in forensic accounting. By doing so, an accurate estimate of the property's value can be had, allowing you and your attorney to move forward in an effort to get the best possible divorce settlement.

While getting divorced will likely be stressful and emotional, keep your wits about you from beginning to end so that you come away with your finances intact. To do so, make an appointment today with Burns Law. When in doubt, always refer to our listed resources for more information on property division.

California Divorce: Dividing Property

During a divorce, both parties involved must work a separation of property. Due to the heightened emotions involved during this time, many rely on a legal divorce advisor to facilitate the process. In most cases, married couples move into a home together. After the divorce there are a few outcomes for property, which is considered anything that can be bought or sold.

-The property can be sold resulting in split equity

-One partner may petition to keep the house; conditions apply if child support is needed

-Ownership is fairly debated during the negotiation process

However, it depends on the type of property given in the divorce. This article provides additional information on four types: community property, quasi property, separate property, and combined property. The circumstances depend on the case itself. Some couples agree to work out the separation of property process together, without legal assistance. However, they must, after agreeing, present the agreement to a state judge to authorize it by signature.

To avoid penalties, the judicial department of California requires a form to be filled out. It discloses all the individual separate and community properties. During asset and division process, the parties will have to follow the following steps to be sure of their asset status:

  • Create a full list of your assets
  • Determine if the assets are separate or community property
  • Do proper evaluations of the assets
  • Divide the assets equally if community assets

Annulment Versus Divorce

An annulment is a less expensive legal procedure that cancels a marriage, instead of going through a divorce. You can get a civil or religious annulment. The religious annulment will be conducted by the church both parties identify with. However, it will not terminate the legal marriage. To legally end the marital status, both parties must get a civil annulment through court. While both options end the marriage, it is up to you and your partner to discuss how you would like to proceed with the process.

If you suspect that you do have grounds for an annulment, you should seek the counsel of a lawyer. Annulments can additionally end marriages that should not have been issued, in cases of bigamy or incest. Reasons for filing and qualifications vary per state, such as:

-Spouses were tricked into marrying

-One or both spouses were underage

-A spouse is already/currently married

-Mentally impaired at the time of the marriage

-Marriage remains unconsummated

-Serious misrepresentation or fraud

Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders

There are many reasons that constitute a divorce. An unfortunate scenario involves cases of domestic abuse, where a restraining order must be issued. Regardless of who the abuser is, having a restraining order in place gives you important legal recourse should they continue to harm you. While going through a divorce, trying to manage getting an order of protection may be an added stressor. It is best to hire a legal professional to guide you through the legal process. Though, you do not and should not wait if you are in immediate danger of domestic violence. Instead, call 911 and have the police petition a judge for an Emergency Protective Order. If the situation permits, work with your lawyer to petition for a temporary restraining order. Your abuser is required to show up to court, where the judge will make a final decision. Acting this way allows you to document an official detailed report of how your abuser acted toward you. A few weeks following the issued temporary order, you will return to court. The judge can turn the restraining order into a more permanent solution.

Dividing Property and Debt During Divorce FAQs

Dividing property is by far the most stressful part of a divorce. Most spouses do not have prenuptial agreements, nor do they agree on how to effectively split their belongings. Before consulting with a legal professional, you must be wondering what dividing property during a divorce entails, and if you have any chances of getting a portion of the property. We answer the most frequently asked questions if you are having trouble dividing your assets.



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