Division of Marital Assets

Property Value Division Attorneys in San Diego

Generally speaking, all property that you and your spouse acquire during the marriage while “domiciled” (residing for most purposes) in California is community property. This means that all earnings, assets, and debts during a marriage are subject to equal division between the spouses upon divorce.

An exception is separate property, which includes property that a spouse inherited and property owned by the spouse before the marriage.  However, separate property may have been changed, or “transmuted,” into community property and vice versa. If separate and community property were mixed, or “commingled,” this property might belong to the community.

If you and your spouse were domiciled in another state and moved to California, property acquired in another state might be treated as community property.

Under California’s marital property system, complex legal and factual issues often arise, especially if you and your spouse have substantial assets or a professional degree. The security of your financial well-being may depend in part on how property is characterized, and you can be confident in our abilities to advance your best interest in these critical determinations.

Dividing Business or Partnership Interests with Divorce

Businesses can pose many difficult questions regarding whether the business is community or separate property; what options are available for dividing the asset; and of particular importance, how to value a business. For an ongoing business, “goodwill” may need to be divided, which is an intangible asset that can be very difficult to value.

Also, if one spouse is a member of a partnership with third persons, the non-partner spouse may have an interest in the partner-spouse’s share of the partnership, creating valuation issues.

In sum, there are many ways to divide a business as well as different valuation techniques.  Our San Diego divorce attorneys identify your rights and take the necessary measures to protect your financial interests.

Division of Stocks During California Divorce

The division of stock often raises special considerations, as a court frequently considers whether to divide the stock equally, or award the stock to one spouse and compensate the other.  As always, our lawyers carefully evaluate the alternatives to safeguard your interests.

It is also important to note that after separating, spouses must make certain disclosures regarding stock holdings.  Minella Law Group’s lawyers act to ensure that disclosure duties are abided by so that you are not disadvantaged.

Employment Related Benefits After Divorce

Pension or Retirement Benefits

There are many deferred compensation and retirement benefit plans that are offered to executives and employees.  Even though these might not be received until after divorce, a portion of these assets may belong to the community.  Our family lawyers take the proper steps to protect your interest in a pension or retirement plan, and if appropriate, secure the interest by obtaining a qualified domestic relations orders on the asset.

A Minella Law Group attorney also assess valuation issues to ensure your rights are not diminished, and if you wish to terminate your marital status before other issues are resolved, we’ll take the appropriate actions to prevent losses to any right you may have to pension benefits.

Stock Options

Stock options may be a mixture of community property and separate property.  Several factors are considered in determining the stock option’s character, as well as in valuing the option.  In asserting your rights, we’ll emphasize those factors in your favor through skilled representation in and out of court in San Diego.

Prenuptial or Premarital Agreements

In California, parties can change their property rights by contract.  If you and your spouse entered into a premarital agreement, a court may find that there is no community property.

However, in certain circumstances, premarital agreement can be challenged.  If the agreement is established to be against public policy, the entire agreement or provisions within it may be held invalid.

We’re committed to furthering your economic well-being, and in doing so we’ll carefully review your premarital agreement and pursue the best course of action.

Tax Issues with Divorce in California

A divorce has many tax effects, including the tax effects of spousal and child support, the equal and unequal divisions of property, of a sale or exchange of a principal residence, and the deductibility of attorney’s fees.

Particularly in a high asset divorce, tax considerations must be taken into account early on. Minella Law Group’s attorneys will always place your financial interests as our priority, and we’ll ensure that the tax effects are weighed.

Divorce with Homes and Income Producing Real Estate

Real property may have both community and separate property interests, giving rise to several alternatives if the property is to be divided. You may have a share in the property, or you or the community estate may be owed a reimbursement for contributions to that property’s acquisition or improvement. We’ll analyze your rights in any real property and work to ensure that your assets are protected.

If you are a professional or have substantial assets, then in addition to the issues highlighted above, there are many other complex issues that may apply to your particular circumstances. We’ll diligently identify and pursue all your rights with skilled representation, whether it be in the courtroom or at the negotiating table.

Kathy MinellaDivision of Marital Assets