Asset & Property Division

The process of getting divorced is not only emotionally challenging, it can also pose financial challenges. Which assets that you share with your spouse will end up with you? What will your former spouse take away? At the Law Office of Michael C. MacNeil, I can help you protect assets from divorce starting on day one.

Community Property Principle in California

California is considered to be a “community property” state. This means that during your divorce proceedings, the court will split your property equally between you and the other party.

But an “equal split” is not the same as splitting your community property in half. Your spouse may get more of the community property than you do because of circumstances such as financial viability or child care costs.

Any separate property that you individually own will not be split during a divorce because it is not considered “community property.” Separate property refers to any asset that you owned before getting married.

However, the definition of “separate property” does have some exceptions that may help those aiming to protect their assets from divorce. For example, if you acquired an inheritance or a gift during your marriage, even though you received it while married, the court will treat it as separate property.

You may end up leaving the marriage with more separate property than your future ex-spouse, but the court may still award your spouse over 50% of your community property depending on economic feasibility.

How Does Asset Division Work?

Even though the law in California requires that your shared property be split equally, it doesn’t require that all individual assets be split in half. After all, some assets—like houses—cannot be split in this way. When it comes to the marital home, a judge may give you the chance to pay your future ex half of your home’s value if you decide to keep it for yourself. In addition, if you own several real estate pieces, you and your spouse can split these properties in a manner that will ensure an equal division of the properties’ value.

In some cases, judges may rule that what was once considered separate property is now communal or shared property. This is known as “transmutation.” Even if no paper trail exists, your spouse may try to prove transmutation through a process called “tracing.”

Property division can certainly be complicated, but it is also my specialty. I can help you protect assets from divorce. To learn which parts of your property are considered separate, which parts are considered shared/communal, and which parts are at risk of transmutation claims, you can request a free consultation with my office.