Our Orange County Property Division Lawyers Help You Protect Your Possessions
In California, all community property assets are subject to equal division during the divorce process. It does not matter what you own or how much it is worth, if it qualifies as a “community property” and it is not protected by a legally-enforceable prenuptial agreement, it is going to be on the table in your divorce, and you are going to need to engage an Orange County divorce law firm to ensure that it is handled appropriately.
Although they are treated similarly to other forms of property, luxury assets present some unique considerations during the divorce process. Whether an asset is of extraordinary value (or essentially priceless) or you have a personal connection to something that you have acquired as a result of your wealth, protecting it during your divorce will be important. Our Orange County divorce lawyers have extensive experience representing high-net-worth spouses, and we can use our experience to help you protect the assets you want to preserve once your marriage is over.
Applying California’s Community Property Law to Luxury Assets
Despite its progressive nature, California is one of the limited number of states that has not yet transitioned to the law of equitable distribution. California is still a “community property” state, and this means that spouses are required to divide their marital assets equally when they get divorced.
As a practical matter, most high-net-worth divorcing couples split their marital estate by working out an arrangement under which each spouse keeps an equal portion of the couple’s existing assets. This includes apportioning ownership of luxury items such as:
- Cars, SUVs and motorcycles
- Collectors’ items
- Private jets
- Vacation homes
In many cases, emotional attachment will play a significant role in determining which spouse keeps individual luxury items. For example, one spouse may have a deep emotional attachment to one of the couple’s vacation properties, while the other may place significant value on keeping a vintage car collection. When this is the case, the spouses can usually distribute their assets in a way that is mutually agreeable—although this does not necessarily mean that the process will go smoothly. Questions of valuation and other issues can lead to disagreements that take time, effort and court intervention to resolve; and, with so much at stake, both spouses will have a vested interest in doing what is necessary to ensure a just outcome.
Splitting the Sales Proceeds
Occasionally, high-net-worth spouses may decide to sell a luxury asset and split the proceeds as part of their divorce. This could be the case, for example, if a couple owns a yacht or vacation home that has sat virtually untouched for years. If spouses can agree to sell an asset, they can execute the sale as part of the divorce process (though they will need to agree on the sale price and terms as well), and then they can distribute the proceeds as part of their marital estate.
Turn to Seastrom Tuttle & Murphy to Protect Your Luxury Assets
If you have questions or concerns about protecting luxury assets during the divorce process in California, we encourage you to speak with one of our divorce attorneys. To schedule a confidential initial consultation at a time that is convenient for you, call us at 949-474-0800 or inquire online today.