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Division and Valuation of Property

Who Gets the House in a Divorce?

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019
Categories: Blog, Division and Valuation of Property

Since the home you share with your spouse is likely one of the most valuable assets involved in your divorce, you’ll definitely want to know how it’s treated under California divorce law. The question of who gets the house is far from simple but, in general, the statutes regarding the division of assets apply. There are more complex issues that you should discuss with a Los Angeles divorce lawyer, but some background information may be helpful.

Ownership is the Initial Consideration

Before getting to the issue of who takes the house in divorce, you’ll first need to determine who owns it. The question revolves around the concept of marital versus separate property. Community property states like California will usually presume that a home purchased during the marriage belongs to both spouses. When a spouse bought the house before marriage, it’s usually considered separate and not subject to division in divorce.

However, the issue may become murky when one name appears on the deed and the home was purchased after the couple married.

Methods for Dividing the Interests in the Marital Home

Ultimately, the house will be distributed according to what the court orders. How it gets into the final divorce decree may vary, and there are two ways of handling the issue:

  • Agreement: If you and your spouse can compromise on how to divvy up interests in the home, a court is not likely to disturb your agreement. To protect your rights, you should consult with an attorney during negotiations, finalizing the agreement, transferring title, and preparing the order.
  • Court Hearing: When parties to a divorce cannot agree, a court will make a decision on who gets the house after conducting a full hearing on the issue. There are countless factors a judge will consider, such as who gets custody of children, a determination on alimony, division of other assets, and others.

Property Division Options for Parties to Consider

Regardless of whether the house is the subject of an agreement or a judge’s decision, there are multiple alternatives.

  • Sale to a Third Party: Both spouses may relinquish their ownership interests in the home by selling it to someone else and distributing the proceeds. Note that the division of the sale funds may not be exactly 50-50, as there may be equitable reasons to deviate from an exact split.
  • Buyout: One spouse may buy the other out, either through direct payment, applying amounts gained through division of other marital property, assuming the mortgage, or combinations of these structures.
  • Deferred Sale: It’s possible to keep the home in both of your names for a designated time period, at which point you’ll sell and divide the proceeds. A deferred sale is often wise when there are school-age children and the custodial parent wants to remain in the home.

Contact a Century City Divorce Lawyer to Discuss Real Estate and Other Marital Assets

For more information or answers to additional questions on who gets the house in divorce, please contact the Law Offices of Evan Braunstein. You can set up a consultation with a Century City divorce attorney by calling 877.721.4551.

Hidden & Overlooked Assets In Divorces

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
Categories: Blog, Division and Valuation of Property

In a recent blog post “Your Spouse’s ‘Hidden’ Assets – A Checklist” mentioned in the South Carolina Family Law Blog, Georgia Family Law Attorney Steve Worrall provided a useful and extensive list of assets that are often overlooked or hidden in divorces and legal separations.  In California, all assets acquired during marriage by either party are presumed to be community property.  It is important that prior to the division of property or property settlement in a family law case, all valuable assets are identified and located. The list of assets below is not exhaustive but is a great tool for litigants and attorneys alike.
1. Frequent flyer mileage
2. Security deposits (e.g., utilities, car lease)
3. Timeshare property
4. Leased vehicles, cell phone, other items
5. Stock options
6. Memberships (e.g., country club)
7. Bond or deposit for country club
8. Unused vacation, sick leave
9. Patents, copyrights, royalties
10. Income tax refunds
Read more of this post.

Bifurcation & Bifurcated Divorces In An Economic Downturn

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009
Categories: Blog, Division and Valuation of Property, Filing for Divorce

In a divorce proceeding, bifurcation is the division of the divorce into two or more parts. In California, bifurcation is governed by California Family Law Code Section 2337. There are two types of bifurcation. In the first, the parties bifurcate the divorce by severing the issue of marital status from all other issues to obtain a “status-only divorce.” In the second, the parties bifurcate a single key issue from the rest of the case, and have a mini-trial to resolve that key issue. Both types of bifurcation can be especially useful to people getting divorced in today’s economic downturn.

Bifurcation & Status-Only Divorces

Certain parts of a divorce such as the division and valuation of property, child custody, child support and spousal support can take longer to resolve than we would like. This is equally true whether the parties are negotiating or are preparing for trial. They may bifurcate the issue of marital status and reserve the court’s jurisdiction over all other matters. This can give them the peace of mind knowing that they are divorced, can move on with their lives, and can even remarry, while knowing that they will have the time necessary to properly resolve the other divorce issues.

Read more of this post.

Separate, Separated, Separation

Friday, February 20th, 2009
Categories: Blog, Child Custody, Division and Valuation of Property, Filing for Divorce, Legal Separation, Spousal Support

Here are three legal terms that you should think about if you are thinking about filing for divorce:

Separate – Separate Property

One part of a divorce is the division of property. California is a community property state. All property obtained by either party during a marriage is presumed to be community property and jointly owned 50/50 unless the acquisition of the property was the result of a gift or inheritance. Any property acquired during a marriage that can be traced to separate property is also separate property. All other property, including property that was acquired before marriage or after the date of separation, is separate property. Certain actions and/or agreements Read more of this post.

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