Complex Property Division

Complex Property Division in California

A California divorce that involves significant assets can be both complicated and contentious without proper planning. Fortunately, parties can take strategic steps to simplify the process as well as protect valuable property.

Couples with high-net-worth can protect their assets both before and after they are married. While no one enters a marriage with plans to divorce, those whose holdings include business interests, professional practices, investment portfolios, pensions, retirement accounts, or other valuable items shouldn’t take risks.

Johnson Attorneys Group Handles Complex Property Division in Orange County

If you live in Orange County and need help resolving issues related to complex property division during a high-net-worth divorce, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney at Johnson Attorneys Group. Located in Newport Beach, we show clients what to do and when to do it to ensure that their assets are protected.

To reach a fair and amicable agreement outside of court, our dedicated divorce attorneys will conduct careful research and aggressive negotiation with your spouse’s attorneys and experts. It is our goal to negotiate a fair settlement without it becoming a bitter legal battle. However, due to the complicated nature of a high-net-worth divorce, we are prepared to go to trial when necessary.

Property Division Laws in California Divorces

Under California law, with certain exceptions, property, assets, and debts acquired during marriage become community property and are owned by both spouses equally. This means that if a couple divorces, the assets will be documented and divided equally between them.

It can be complicated when one or both spouses are wealthy with substantial property, business interests, and other assets that are subject to division. It’s vital that these businesses, properties, assets, and debts are first valued at fair market. A qualified family law attorney may do this by consulting a financial expert in some cases.

The most common dispute between couples is determining if some assets are separate property belonging to one spouse and not the other.

Community Property Vs. Separate Property in California

Separate property is property and assets that were owned prior to the marriage by either spouse. It is also acquired during the marriage by inheritance, gift, or by purchase with separate property funds. Unless the parties agree otherwise, the Court will award separate property to the spouse who acquired it. Yet, the spouse who acquired the separate property has the burden of proof to establish the property should be treated as such.

Fortunately, you can override California’s community property laws. A couple that has a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement can define the terms of their separation before or after they are married by stipulating who gets what.

Keep in mind that couples with substantial assets may face a considerably longer divorce process. Under normal circumstances, the more property there is to characterize, appraise, and distribute, the longer it takes to finalize the divorce, even when the parties agree. If the parties cannot agree, divorce can take years.

The divorce attorneys at Johnson Attorneys Group have significant experience handling these types of cases in Orange County.

Some of the high-value assets at risk in these types of complex divorces include:

  • Retirement, 401(k), IRA accounts;
  • Pensions;
  • Professional practices;
  • Stock options;
  • Corporate business assets;
  • Domestic and international business valuations;
  • Business entity ownership;
  • Intellectual property;
  • Inheritances;
  • Art collections;
  • Wine collections;
  • Investment portfolios; and
  • Residential and commercial real estate.

How Divorce Can Affect Your Assets

Most couples with significant property are concerned about maintaining their lifestyle or losing their business holdings after a divorce.

For others, the fear of financial ruin after a divorce is very real, especially if there is one high-income earner and one spouse who does not work outside the home. While community property is split 50-50 between couples, many affluent people have significant separate property they had before they got married that they want to retain as separate property.

It can get complicated if one spouse tries to hide assets, income, earnings, or even debt from the other spouse. Our experienced family lawyers will help track down hidden assets and define all assets that are separate. We often consult experts to help ensure your assets are valued fairly and advise you on how property division may affect your taxes.

These types of cases require the careful and knowledgeable hand of a skilled Orange County family law attorney so that you can determine what assets are rightfully your separate property and what assets are community property to be divided equally between you and your spouse.

Contact Johnson Attorneys Group for a Complex Property Division Consultation

If you are going through divorce and dealing with issues related to complex property division in Orange County, our competent family law attorneys have the experience you need. They are skilled at negotiating and litigating cases involving complex property division and have your best interests in mind. To discuss your potential case, contact our family law firm at (949) 942-8784 to request a private consultation with a divorce attorney.

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