Westlake Village Community Property Attorney

Characterizing property interests in a divorce or legal separation is the foundational starting point for resolving marital property rights and obligations. California applies the concept of community property as the basis of asset division in divorce or legal separation. Community property is defined as all property (real or personal) acquired by either spouse during marriage. Community property does not include any property that either member of the couple acquires from an inheritance, as a gift from a third person, or specific property that is the subject of a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, if the spouses have entered into such an agreement. Separate property includes property owned before marriage, acquired during marriage by gift, bequest, devise or descent, and the rents, issues and profits of any such property. It also includes post-separation earnings, and certain personal injury damages recoveries.

Similarly, the rules governing community versus separate debt liability are predicated on when the debt was incurred by either spouse. A community debt would generally be one that was incurred during the marriage. This rule applies regardless of who manages or controls the property or who incurred the debt. A separate liability would generally be one that was incurred before marriage or after separation.

In calculating and dividing community and separate interests and obligations you may find that you have a right of reimbursement for community debts paid post separation with your separate earnings. While marriage brings the marital community estate into existence, divorce or legal separation brings it to an end.

Contact the Law Office of Jacqueline Y. Blade in Westlake Village to find out how community property principles apply to your particular situation. Our law firm can give you sound advice about the best ways to protect your interest in community property while finding creative ways to achieve your goals without generating needless expenses or stress.

Marital Property Attorney Serving Ventura, Thousand Oaks and Oxnard

Before dividing the community property, it is advisable to make sure you know exactly what your interest is in the property. Some assets or indebtedness that the spouses have grown to regard as jointly held might actually be the separate property of just one. Similarly, you might have an interest in community property that you mistakenly believe belongs to the other spouse. We can help you sort out the community property characterization issues that often surround assets or liabilities such as:

  • > Property, including the family residence, purchased by one spouse before marriage, or refinanced during the marriage;
  • > Property identified specifically or generically in a prenuptial agreement;
  • > Pension and retirement accounts reflecting employment that began before marriage but continued during the marriage;
  • > Payments made during the marriage on separate indebtedness, such as student loans incurred prior to marriage;
  • > Payments made on community debt after separation;
  • > Property acquired during the marriage through gift or inheritance, which will normally but not necessarily be treated as separate

Once your property characterization issues come into focus, we can then turn to resolution of the valuation issues that might complicate division of the community property. If the divorcing spouses have similar ideas as to the value of the property they need to divide, the differences can generally be resolved through negotiation and compromise. If there is a significant gap as to the value of the community property, however, we work with financial experts and other forensic professionals as necessary to make sure that your position is fully documented and clearly presented.

Practical Solutions to Community Property Division Problems in Ventura County

Divorce generates new expenses for both sides, if only because each spouse needs to set up a separate household. At the Law Office of Jacqueline Y. Blade, our goal is to help you do so on the best possible terms, both to relieve current financial pressures and to protect your long-term security.

To work with an experienced community property lawyer in Ventura County, including Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley, contact our office by phone or e-mail.