Determining property division in a divorce

Dividing assets can be a difficult process. Most people want to get through the divorce process as amicably as possible and reach a fair agreement. Property can be a particularly challenging issue, but California law has measures in place to ease the difficulty.

A schedule of assets and debts form that each party completes to disclose all property and finances to each other. The purpose of this exercise is to assess how each spouse values the assets of the marriage and whether both parties consider certain assets joint or “community” property. This allows each side to see what issues still need resolution and whether they will require litigation. A court’s interest is coming to an agreement that is fair and as equitable for both sides.

There are ways to resolve discrepancies. A spouse who receives more in property may concede some money to their spouse to even the values received in the agreement. Creative solutions such as this are great ways to even out any uncovered imbalances.

Words of caution

Regardless of what the parties agree to, no agreement for division of property is valid until a judge approves it. Until that point, all property is still community rather than separate. When the parties reach an agreement, it’s important to have the court incorporate it into their judgement for accountability purposes in case one party doesn’t cooperate.

A give and take

Division of property is seldom as easy as saying each party receives half of the assets. This process requires real thought and consideration when negotiating an agreement. It also takes a good deal of compromise. A fair agreement likely leaves each side feeling like they gave a little bit but received something positive out of it too.

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