When a couple in California divorces, they will need to divide their assets and their debts. Oftentimes, the couple can reach a property division agreement through out-of-court negotiations. Keep in mind, though, that a court must approve such an agreement to make it final and legally enforceable.
Couples should aim to divide things relatively equally. This way, each spouse will walk away with approximately the same amount of the assets and debts. However, this doesn't mean that each piece of property must be physically divided in two. Take bank accounts, for example. It may not be necessary to take each account and divide the funds 50/50. If two accounts have roughly the same amount in them, one person can have one account and the other can have the other account. Or, if one account is worth more than the other, the person keeping the other account can also receive additional property of a value that leads to an even split.
The property division process may seem daunting at first. It can help to start off by listing all of your assets and debts, and then determining which are community assets and which are separate assets. Then you can assign a value to each asset based on its fair market value. In fact, in California a "Schedule of Assets and Debts" must be filled out by each party and exchanged in order for the couple to divorce.
Facing the property division process in a divorce is not always easy. Getting a divorce can be very emotionally draining, and it may sometimes be hard to think clearly, particularly when property is involved. Therefore, it can help to seek legal advice before completing your "Schedule of Assets and Debts." An attorney can help with any legal filings and can ensure the results of negotiations are fair.