Property Division • Divorce • Marital & Domestic Partnership Settlement Agreements
Whether you are filing an action for dissolution, legal separation or annulment, you will have to divide existing assets and debts. Contrary to popular belief, many couples are able to decide how to divide their property on their own or with the assistance of their attorneys or a neutral mediator. However, in the event that the couple cannot reach a mutual agreement with the assistance of their attorneys or a mediator, a judge will render a decision in accordance with California law.
Because California is a community property state, all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while living in California is community property. There may also be separate property that is defined as property inherited or specifically gifted or acquired by one or both spouses prior to their marriage or after the date of separation.
For many couples, their home may be their largest asset. The parties must decide whether to sell the house immediately or wait. Often, this issue becomes more complex when children are involved in the divorce and need the stability of the home environment. The parties must find an equitable balance if one of the parents chooses to remain in the marital home with the children and possessions. Often, the party remaining in the residence will buy out the community interest of the other spouse. Other times, the parties work out an arrangement to delay sale of the house until the children are older. At the Law Offices of James T. Raetz, we help you decide the best course of action for you and your family needs.
The extent of a couple’s property determines the complexity of its division. We assist you with the difficult and often time consuming process of determining and valuing marital assets, assessing net income and worth, preparing balance sheets of marital and non-marital assets, and tracing separate property assets. As needed, we work with appraisers and accountants to provide you with additional advice and guidance. If a closely held business is involved in the divorce, an expert trained in business valuation may also be consulted.
After a full and fair assessment of a couple’s assets, our attorneys prepare final settlement agreements and other legal documents related to the division of your assets. When disputes arise, we employ arbitration or mediation, whenever possible, to arrive at a practical and amicable solution. When necessary, we proceed to trial and present evidence to the court with regard to your entitlements to certain assets.
If you are contemplating divorce which is likely to involve complex asset and property division, call the Law Offices of James T. Raetz at (310) 292-3087 or (949) 623-8410 to arrange a confidential consultation to learn how to protect your rights and property interests.