Oct 30, 2020 - Divorce by Seastrom Tuttle & Murphy
If you’re initiating a divorce proceeding in California, you may be anxious about how the state will handle the marital assets that make up a central part of your divorce. While California law is designed to make the process of divorce as quickly as possible, a high asset divorce typically becomes embattled or contested when both spouses are fighting to secure the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. As such, determining how to value and split your marital property becomes one of the riskiest aspects of a high net worth divorce. If you’re embarking on a divorce and have a significant amount of assets at stake, an Irvine divorce attorney can help you begin preparing your assets for divorce.
From understanding and possibly shielding the type of assets that can be considered marital property to determining how to value and offer to divide the assets in questions, below are some of the best practices to prepare your high-value assets for a divorce.
California Law Requires Spouses to Receive ‘Equal Value’ of Marital Property
In California, all property acquired throughout the marriage will generally be considered marital property unless a prenuptial agreement states otherwise or unless the assets were obtained through an inheritance or a gift. There are a few other exceptions, but generally, you should be prepared to have most of your assets considered part of the marital estate in a California divorce. Because the state also requires an equitable division of the assets, this could mean that you must be prepared to lose half of your net worth to your former spouse in a divorce.
Working alongside your Irvine divorce attorney to compile a list of all of your marital assets and make compelling arguments for why some should be considered your individual property is an essential first step toward protecting yourself in the divorce proceeding. You should also work with your lawyer to assess your prenuptial agreement.
Disclosing Your Assets with the Help of an Irvine Divorce Attorney
No matter who the primary earner is in the marriage, both parties will be required to declare their income, expenses, and debts so that the court understands the precise financial panorama for each of the parties. The spouse initiating the divorce will be required to file a declaration of disclosure with their divorce petition or within 60 days of its receipt. The other spouse will then have another 60 days to file their response and subsequent declaration of disclosure. During this process, you should prepare to complete all of your property appraisals, including real estate, businesses, jewelry, art, and other collectibles. Your debt load will also be reviewed and analyzed as part of the divorce proceeding.
Most crucially, our attorneys will focus on protecting the assets that your spouse theoretically should not be able to lay claim over, such as your business. Because your business was able to succeed under your expert management, your Irvine divorce attorney will make a strong case for allowing those assets to remain under your total dominion and control. Your attorney will likely suggest making a settlement offer to your former spouse so you can avoid court and minimize exposure of substantial losses.
Ready to initiate the process, or have more questions about how to proceed? Our team is ready and willing to assist you. Contact our offices today.