What Assets are Protected in a California Divorce?

While getting a divorce is not on anyone’s mind starting out in their marriage, sometimes that becomes part of life’s next chapter, and it’s better to know what is coming next than be blindsided and lose assets and property you’ve worked hard to amass over the years. Financial stress can make the divorce process even harder, and emotional stress can cause you to overlook and under think your priorities during this difficult time. Having a knowledgeable and compassionate divorce attorney at your side is incredibly helpful to navigate California’s divorce laws.

Many are unaware that California is a community property state, which entitles any property or debt that was acquired during your marriage to both parties equally. As with any law, exceptions do exist and this article will go over which of your assets are protect during a divorce and which are subject to California’s community property laws as well as go over the ins and outs of some of the more major terms and processes you will be dealing with to act as a guide through this difficult time. 

What is California’s Community Property Law?

The state of California uses a series of community property laws which act as a buffer to help divide property as fairly as possible. Of course, you are always welcome to contest what property is yours during the mediation and divorce process. Having an understanding of community property law for your asset protection is critical as the ownership of property will be the key to how the partners divide assets during the divorce proceedings. An experienced California divorce lawyer will know all the ins and out of this dense and complicated law. 

Under California Family Code § 2550, in general, all assets and properties acquired by the couple after they were married are the property of the marriage and will need to be divided equally in a divorce. Protecting your assets before and during your marriage isn’t a sign of lack of faith, but can help both parties in the long run. 

What is Asset Protection?

Asset protection will keep your assets away from creditors without making you party to any sort of concealment or tax evasion issues. It is a lawful and ethical way to protect both spouses before and during divorce. For those with a healthy amount of assets and property, this protection planning is an absolute necessity. 

Understanding Property

Assets and property are quite varied. It is important to get an idea of everything that constitutes property. It can be anything that can be bought or sold or even just something that has value, such as:

  • House or land
  • Cars
  • Bank Accounts and cash
  • 401k
  • Pension plans
  • Stocks
  • Any business you own
  • Furniture and clothing
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Life insurance that pays out a cash value

How to Protect Your Assets During a Divorce

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement (prenup, for short) is a document that is created before both parties get married that specifies which assets belong to whom and legally designates that these assets will not fall under the community property law. 

A postnuptial agreement is another legal document that couples can create that will cancel out California’s community property laws. A postnuptial agreement is just like a prenup, as it will protect both party’s assets in case of a divorce, the exception being that the postnuptial is written while the couple is married.  

Take Inventory of Your Assets

The first step you should take when getting divorced is taking an inventory of all of your assets and valuables. As stated above, assets can be many tangible and intangible pieces of poetry so make sure to be very specific with everything you own. If you have received valuables that were not given to your partner as well, make sure to document them. These could be heirlooms, inheritances, etc. If possible, get proof of everything you can to make it easier to prove if your divorce becomes litigious. 

Guide to Taking Asset and Property Inventory

Here is a fast guide to help you document your assets.

  1. Inventory all of your valuables 
  2. Get proof of any inherited or gifted items 
  3. Rightfully acquire your property from your home
  4. Know the status (mortgage, taxes) of all property
  5. Hire an appraiser
  6. Take pictures of all joint property

Get Exceptional Divorce and Asset Help Today with Azemika Law

During a divorce, documenting and dividing your assets can be a difficult and stressful job. Let a qualified and experienced Bakersfield divorce attorney help you turn the page to the next chapter of your life.

At Azemika & Azemika, our attorneys have specialized in all aspects of divorce and family law for over 28 years. We use our vast experience to customize each case based on each client’s needs. As a result, we will help you find solutions to all of your asset and property needs  

Reach out today to schedule a consultation. Let us focus on the property and asset laws so that you can focus on the future.

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