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Does an Orange County California Divorce Court Treat Debt and Property Equally?

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2020 | Property Division

Are you filing for divorce in Orange County, California? If so, you probably wonder how California divides property in divorce cases. In almost every case, a divorce case involves the division of property. The division of property in divorce includes both real property and personal property.

Real property refers to real estate like houses, rental properties, commercial properties, land, timeshares, etc. Personal property refers to all other property that does not qualify as real property. Personal property’s broad definition surprises some people facing divorce. When asked, most assume personal property refers to household items like furniture, appliances, personal items, etc. Household items such as these do qualify as personal property, but the category also includes vehicles, financial accounts, stocks, retirement accounts, pets, and more. It is easier to understand the overall concept of dividing property in a divorce when you look at personal property through the lens of California family law.

The judge has the power to make the final decision on property division, but it is rare for a judge to refuse to sign a judgment when two spouses agree. Divorcing couples who wish to come to a mutual agreement regarding property division should work with their attorneys to ensure that the agreement is legal. Remember to include mandatory disclosures and other appropriate documents. If the documentation is complete and the agreement is drafted appropriately, the family law judge is likely to approve it as is.

When divorcing couples are not willing or able to agree on the division of property, the court is left in charge.

Common Scenarios for Dividing Property in California Divorce:

1. The Family Home: When the family home is considered community property, the most common method of dividing the property is to sell and divide the net proceeds. Alternately, one spouse may buy out the other spouse’s community property interest. Buying out the other spouse usually means one spouse pays one-half the equity to the other spouse and requests a loan modification to remove the bought-out spouse from the mortgage. The spouse that was bought out should sign a deed transferring their interest to the other spouse. This is the easiest way to protect both spouses.

2. Other Real Property: Rental properties, investment properties, commercial properties, land, etc. can be divided using similar strategies. When working with income-generating properties, parties should consider the income generated from the property when agreeing on a fair division or buy out price. If the couple owns a commercial property at which a business is operated, the spouse awarded the continued operation of the company would generally retain the property as well. The value of both the business and the property would be considered as assets.

If you need assistance filing for divorce in Orange County, California, or if you need help negotiating the division of property during your California divorce, please don’t hesitate to call the experienced divorce attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.