A Law Firm Simplifying Complex Property Division
Dividing property is an important component of any divorce and can be especially daunting in a high-asset case. Your family may have a diverse portfolio of liquid and illiquid assets, or there may be income-generating intellectual property like royalties or residuals, corporate trade secrets and issues related to the division of stock options. An experienced attorney who understands the complex nature of important details related to these assets is crucial to an equitable division of them.
What Gets Divided?
California is a community property state, meaning there is a presumption that all assets (and debts) acquired by either spouse during marriage are community property and subject to division. If an asset acquired during marriage can be traced to a separate property source (for example, if it was purchased during marriage with money that you can show was either gifted, inherited, or owned prior to marriage) then the spouse asserting that claim must trace to that separate source.
Similarly, if there is an express writing changing separate property to community property, the court can divide that asset. The first step in determining how to divide the assets is determining what assets are in both parties’ estate and when they were acquired. This is done in every divorce by first reviewing the mandatory Declarations of Disclosure each spouse must provide to the other.
If it appears that property is not disclosed, we can engage in the discovery process to help uncover any such property and breaches of fiduciary duty for actively concealing property. It is always our hope that individuals make full and complete disclosures of their income, assets, and debts.
Property division will start with an accounting of all assets, including:
- The marital residence
- Checking and savings accounts
- Vacation homes and other real estate
- Household furnishings and possessions
- Stocks and stock options
- Pensions and retirement accounts
- Closely held businesses
- Artwork and other collectible items
Debts will also need to be assessed and divided appropriately.
Assigning Proper Value to Businesses and Other Assets
Before assets can be divided, they must be assigned a value. Some assets like a bank account can be valued just by looking at the account balance. Other assets, like the value of a business or the value of a person’s goodwill, may be more complex and require an expert in the field to opine on the value. At Storm Family Law, P.C., we help our clients determine the best approach to valuing each asset and working with your spouse’s attorney to try and reach an agreement.
No Stone Unturned: Utilizing Forensic Accounting to Expose Hidden Assets
Discovering hidden assets is a common problem. Individuals engage in tactics such as retaining earnings in a business entity, aggressive accounting methods, or placing assets in difficult to find sources, like overseas accounts and bitcoin. We can assist in determining if assets are hidden. Our firm works closely with experts like forensic accountants to thoroughly catalog your entire marital estate and uncover any assets your spouse may be trying to hide. If deception is discovered, we will make sure the judge knows about it.
Contact the Firm for Answers to Your Questions
Storm Family Law, P.C., offers innovative solutions and full-service representation in family law. To learn how we can help you, contact us to arrange your initial consultation. Call 310-504-2188 or fill out our online contact form.