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Does a judge have the final say in the division of your assets?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2021 | Property Division

In a contested divorce, a judge applies California community property rules to your assets and splits everything for you. You can provide the courts with information about your economic circumstances, but you don’t have any actual control over how a judge decides to split your assets. 

Whether you own a small business that you want to retain or just worry about your stability during retirement, you may not like the uncertainty that comes with letting another person decide your financial situation. Do you have to let a judge assume authority over all of your property when you divorce?

You have the right to arrange your own settlement

Not every divorce has to lead to litigated proceedings. While a judge does need to approve your settlement, they don’t have to set the terms that it contains. You and your ex can establish those terms yourselves in an uncontested divorce by using one of several strategies. 

You could try negotiating a postnuptial agreement that explicitly describes how to split your assets and what, if any, support obligations one spouse has to the other. You could also attempt a collaborative divorce by either working together or having your attorneys negotiate directly. You might even want to consider divorce mediation as a way to resolve the issues that you have not yet decided, like how you will split the equity in your home with one another. 

Provided that you reach a mutually agreeable settlement, you can file an uncontested divorce and simply have a judge approve your decisions regarding your assets. Setting your own terms in an uncontested divorce filing gives you control and could even help you keep your costs lower.