Why Do I Need a Granite Bay Property Division Attorney?
While it is technically possible to handle your divorce without an attorney, doing so puts you at an extreme disadvantage, especially if your spouse has hired their own attorney. Ultimately, hiring an attorney is the best way to approach the divorce process. An experienced Granite Bay property division attorney can help you maintain a rational perspective of the situation despite the emotional aspects of the divorce process. Most importantly, the attorney can handle the procedural requirements of your case and allow you to approach divorce with greater confidence.
Regardless of whether you or your spouse filed for divorce, once the legal process begins it is vital to secure legal counsel as soon as possible. Your Granite Bay property division attorney can help you prepare for the proceedings ahead, explore alternative dispute resolution to save you time and money on your divorce, and guide you to a better result than you could have achieved on your own.
Why Choose McCunn Law?
When you need a Granite Bay property division attorney to represent you in your divorce, it is essential to choose an attorney with solid experience in California family law and the resources necessary to pursue a favorable outcome for your divorce case. Attorney Drummond T. McCunn has nearly 20 years of experience handling California family law cases including divorces, child custody determinations, trust administration, and estate planning.
Divorce entails much more than just property division and child custody. You can rely on Attorney McCunn and the team at McCunn Law to guide you through the diverse aspects of your divorce case. We can provide detailed professional guidance at every phase of your case, help you explore your options for resolving the disputes that commonly arise in property division determinations, and even coordinate expert witness testimony on your behalf should your case require it.
What Is California’s Law for Property Division in Divorce?
California is one of few states that upholds a community property law for divorce. This law requires that all marital property be divided evenly during divorce, regardless of why the divorce happened in the first place. Even if your spouse directly caused the breakdown of your marriage through infidelity or other immoral behavior, they would still have the right to claim half of the marital property in divorce.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if one spouse were abusive toward the other or engaged in behavior that resulted in the disproportionate depletion of the couple’s community property, a Granite Bay family court judge would likely consider these factors. As such, they would influence the final determination. If your divorce entails any such factors, it is vital to discuss them in detail with your Granite Bay property division lawyer to determine if and how they will impact property division.
In most cases, community property guidelines in California require both divorcing spouses to provide complete and accurate financial disclosures. The spouses must provide the court with complete lists of all the assets and property they own, including property they owned prior to marrying and assets acquired during their marriage. When it comes time for you to deliver your financial disclosure, it is imperative to be truthful in every aspect of this stage of your divorce case. If you attempt to hide any assets to shield them from division and this activity is exposed, you could face severe legal penalties. In addition, hiding assets may lead to a less-than-favorable resolution to your property division proceedings.
What Counts as Marital Property?
California state law defines “marital property” as any property belonging to a married couple. In most situations, marital property includes property and assets gained during the course of a marriage. For example, if a couple gets married and buys a house together, both of their names appear on the mortgage and both spouses typically contribute toward paying the mortgage. Thus, the house qualifies as marital property. Marital property in California may also include:
- Income earned by both spouses during their marriage.
- Investment properties purchased during the marriage.
- Vehicles and other items purchased with community funds during the marriage.
If you are unsure whether a particular asset or piece of property qualifies as community property, your Granite Bay property division lawyer can help you determine what you can expect when it comes to the court’s interpretation of marital property for your divorce case.
What Qualifies as Separate Property?
“Separate property” includes anything you owned prior to your marriage, inheritance you received from blood relatives, and gifts given to you. If you want to prove that a particular asset or item is your separate property you must provide proof of ownership, such as documentation proving that you acquired the asset prior to your marriage. Typically, anything you owned before you got married will qualify as your separate property for the purposes of divorce. However, there are some potential exceptions to this rule.
California upholds a “transmutation” statute that states some separate property may transmute to community property under certain conditions. This means that one spouse’s efforts contributed to improving the value or maintaining the other spouse’s separate property during the marriage. For example, perhaps one spouse owned a struggling business prior to marrying. After marriage, their new spouse invests in the business and helps to make it profitable, helping the original owner turn it into a lucrative business. In this situation, a California family court judge would likely rule that the business has transmuted to community property due to the efforts and contributions of the other spouse.
The same logic may apply to a home you owned prior to marrying. If your spouse paid for renovations and remodeling that boosted the property value significantly, the court would likely transmute the house to community property. Additionally, if you gave your spouse legal ownership rights of any of your property during your marriage, such as adding your spouse as a joint owner of your bank account, these assets would also likely transmute to community property.