One thing that can be very tricky to divide during a divorce, or, for that matter, during a separation between unmarried couples who also were in business together, is a small, privately-held enterprise.
In the movies and other media, one might hear about a villain or even an edgy hero who hides money in an offshore account and then, perhaps at the end of the plot, escapes the country to live in a life of luxury.
Property division in a divorce is not as simple as some Californians may think. One might believe that everything will just be split down the middle and each party will go their separate ways. However, the division of assets is more complex than that, and any mistakes made could affect a person's financial future for the rest of their life.
One of the big issues divorcing couples in California have to tackle is the division of their assets and debts. To start, keep in mind that California is a community property state for property division. This means that each spouse has a right to any property or debts acquired during the course of the marriage. When it comes to property division, the couple's community (marital) property and debts will be split approximately 50/50.
In any divorce there is the possibility that the property division process will be very contentious. While some couples may split amicably, many couples are still reeling from the emotions and incidents that led to the decision to divorce. Therefore, they do not want to feel short-changed when their assets are divided.
People in Los Angeles treasure their "fur-babies." Indeed, one's dog, cat or other pet is truly considered a member of the family by their human companions. Of course, human relationships are complicated and sometimes a married couple decides they are best off divorcing. This kicks off a host of decisions that must be negotiated. While people may anticipate a child custody battle, if they have children, the issue of who gets the family pet can be almost as emotional a topic.
In California, while a couple is married, they may decide that when it comes to their property that, "What's yours is mine, and what's mine is yours." And, this is the way California law also treats community property. This is an especially important distinction couples should keep in mind should they decide down the road to divorce.
Married couples in Los Angeles spend many of their working years building a solid retirement plan. They may have 401(k)s, pensions, IRAs and other investments. They may be anticipating the day that they can retire, and do things together like travel, play golf and spend more time with family and friends, all things made possible through a well-rounded retirement plan.
When a couple in California owns many valuable assets, should their marriage start to fail, both parties may be concerned with who gets what. And, indeed, property division is an important divorce legal issue that couples must settle when they part ways. Of course, when people think of their marital property, they may think of their house, vacation cabins, automobiles, boats, furniture and artwork, among many other valuable items. However, what divorcing couples should be aware of is that it is not just their marital assets that will be divided -- their marital debts will be divided too.
There are many options for what to do with the family home in the event of a divorce. Some divorcing couples in Los Angeles may decide that one party will stay in the home for a certain number of years, after which they would put the home up for sale and divide the proceeds. Of course, this ties a person to their ex at a time in which a person simply wants to move on. In situations like this, the person not living in the home might just want to pay off the mortgage so that their name can be removed from it. However, will that relinquish that spouse from any responsibilities regarding the home if their ex continues to live in it?