Asset Distribution Lawyer in Costa Mesa & Orange County, CA
Comprehensive legal representation to protect your property rights
If you are going through a divorce, it’s always best to focus on the future you want for yourself and your children. That future depends on many factors, but obtaining a fair division of your marital property is a vitally important one. That’s why Shawn Golesorkhi, Attorney at Law takes particular care with this part of the process. As your divorce attorney, I know I only get one chance to get this important issue right. I am meticulous in my review of financials to ensure the entire process is transparent and honest. I understand how much your future security depends on a favorable outcome, so I strive to achieve the most favorable results possible.
Community property under California law: not as simple as it seems
California is a community property state, which means that each spouse is entitled to 50 percent of the marital estate. The law is meant to simplify the divorce process, while treating each party fairly. But there are many matters that could complicate this issue. Disputes often arise over:
- Marital property — Under California’s community property law, only marital property gets divided. Each spouse is permitted to keep their own separate property. Thus, whether an asset (or a debt) should be considered separate or marital property is often a subject of controversy. Generally speaking, property acquired before the marriage is separate property, as are assets purchased with separate property and inheritances or nonmarital gifts received during the marriage. Parties often dispute the provenance of property to have it labeled separate or marital.
- Commingled property — If a spouse treats separate property as marital property, a court can rule that it belongs to the marital estate. For example, if a spouse has a business which is separate property, but does not keep business funds separate from personal finances, a court could rule that profits from the business and even the business itself have been converted to a marital asset.
- Property obtained after separation — California law considers a marriage ended when the relationship is “irretrievably lost.” Therefore, property acquired after that moment in time is separate, even though the couple is still married.
- Property covered by a marital contract — Spouses can execute a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to resolve their property issues in anticipation of divorce. The contract is meant to make property division easier, but parties often regret having agreed to terms they now view as unfavorable. What follows is a challenge to the validity of the contract. A court can nullify a marital agreement if there is evidence of fraud, lack of transparency, coercion, or duress, or if the terms are so unequal that enforcement would be “unconscionable.”
- Property value — Controversies often arise over how much items are worth. This is especially true of items either spouse wants to hold onto. The spouse that wants the item argues for a low valuation, while the other spouse wants a higher value attached.
- Hidden assets — Spouses are required to foreclose all property, but some try to hide assets from the other. Some parties go so far as to execute a fraudulent transfer to put the property outside the reach of the other spouse.
- Out of state assets — Property in other states can be hard to track, and can be subject to the laws of the state where it resides.
- The family home — For most divorcing couples, their most valuable asset is the family home. Awarding the home to one spouse might not leave enough in the marital estate to properly compensate the other spouse. Moreover, if there are minor children, courts generally favor keeping the children in the home they know. It can be a great challenge to overcome the imbalance an award of the family home creates, especially when the spouse occupying the home cannot work due to caretaker responsibilities.
When you take all of these issues into consideration, the 50-50 split of community property is not such a simple proposition. This is when you need an experienced attorney who is willing to go the extra mile for you. When you retain my services, I work tirelessly to deliver the results you deserve.
Contact a dedicated Orange County asset distribution lawyer to discuss property division
Shawn Golesorkhi, Attorney at Law provides personalized, cost-effective legal representation for divorce clients in Orange County. Call 949-241-5751 or contact me online to schedule your free initial consultation at my office in Costa Mesa.