While there are many issues that will come to the forefront and have the potential for dispute in a California divorce, one of the most challenging is property division. In the Golden State, there are ways in which property is categorized and if there is confusion as to who owns what, it lays the foundation for acrimony. This is especially problematic with real estate. Since a family home and investment properties can be exceedingly lucrative, it is not uncommon for both parties to lay claim to it. Other factors will also be important including how much is owed, who might want to live in the property, how to address selling it and more.
How categorizing property is important with real estate
In California, there are community property, quasi-community property, separate property and commingled property. With real estate, this will be essential when deciding how to divide it. A property will be either community or quasi-community property if both parties have a claim to it from purchasing it or having it rise in value during the marriage. With real estate, if the couple bought a home together, then it will be community property. If one spouse had the property before the marriage and there were improvements made after the marriage with it spiking in value because of it, then that increase will be commingled. The same holds true for debts that must be shared.
Quasi-community property is a property that was acquired or is owned in another state and would have been viewed as community property had it been acquired in California. For people who have properties in another state – for example, a vacation home in Colorado or Nevada – this could be a source of discord as part of the divorce. Any value or debt will be quasi-community property. As the term “separate property” suggests, if the property was owned by one spouse before the marriage, then it will be separate. It is also separate property if one inherited it during the marriage. So, if a parent dies and a husband is left their home, then it will be separate property.
How to divide real estate in a divorce
Couples who are on relatively good terms can generally negotiate a peaceful resolution to these complicated issues even if it is a valuable property like real estate. Unfortunately, not all cases are like that and it is important to think about how to divide these items. In California, community property must be split evenly. To complicate matters further, one spouse might want to stay in the family home. That will require that the other spouse be bought out. Of course, this can be addressed in the divorce agreement. If children are involved, then the spouse who is leaving the family home might want the children to be in a stable and recognizable environment and be willing to work it out accordingly with limited rancor. Having an accurate valuation of all real estate is imperative when dealing with these issues even if the parties are amicable. This helps with being protected.
Professional help with real estate in a divorce
For people who have accrued real estate and are in the middle of a divorce, it is important to remember that the law can be complicated with property division. In any situation, it is vital have assistance when navigating these complex issues. People frequently make the mistake of trying to settle the case on their own or are completely unaware of the nuance within the law. From the start, it is useful to have legal guidance to reach a satisfactory resolution.