No one enters a marriage thinking that it will at some point come to an end. From the day of their wedding and on, a couple builds a permanent life together – they buy a house, open up a joint bank account, and get a brand-new car. Then the day comes when the happiness wanes and divorce becomes the only option to achieve peace. The pain can be immeasurable. On top of that, you must now give up some of your hard-earned, much-loved possessions to your former partner, and the sheer complexity of property division in California only intensifies your emotional and mental burden. However, throughout our years of practice, Shank and his associates have recruited the most compassionate and knowledgeable family law attorneys they could find in the Bay Area. They will be with you through every stage of your divorce, clarifying confusion, answering questions, providing guidelines and advice, and entering the Santa Clara courtrooms alongside you. There are extensive measures you can take to defend your assets during the California property division, and recruiting a strong divorce attorney will open the doors to many of them. Whether you are considering a divorce or are already in the middle of one, call us for a completely free, personal legal consultation to see how we can assist you with your property division negotiations.
First, in order to help you narrow down the questions you may have for us, let us outline some of the details of this process. The city of San Jose considers marital property to include many different types of assets, including the basic ones such as land, housing, clothes, furniture, or anything that you can buy or sell, as well as other not-so-concrete assets such as retirement plans, credit cards, bank accounts, money, life insurance, businesses, etc. California is also a community property state, which means that it considers all possessions acquired over the course of the marriage and before the date of its termination to belong to both spouses equally. Thus, when a couple decides to legally separate, they must split these between them in a way that both find agreeable (or that the judge mandates). When you have toiled for many hours over several years to acquire your possessions and save up for your retirement, it is only reasonable that the threat of losing a large portion of that property would cause immense stress. This is especially true for high-profile divorce cases or for those with extensive assets. Many believe that dividing property must be 50/50 – you get your half, I get mine. And while, in theory, this is the way that property division goes in California, this simply cannot be the case in practice. After all, you cannot draw a line down the middle of your house, or cut your boat in half. Rather, the procedure is based on a number of factors and considerable negotiation during which the couple attempts to find a situation that is as close to 50-50 as possible.
It is not an easy process. In fact, it may just be the longest, most complex matter you must discuss during your divorce. Ultimately, it will be up to a judge within Santa Clara county family courts to give the final say and sign off on who gets what. However, the majority of these decisions can be made outside of a courtroom through negotiation and/or mediation. Just remember, never sign off on any written agreements without having a lawyer read them first since our divorce attorneys have handled numerous property division cases and can draw from their experience to tell you the long-term effects of any decisions. This is why having a San Jose family law attorney who operates in the Bay Area and has knowledge specific to property division in San Jose courts is so essential in fighting for your well-deserved possessions. Not only will they meticulously craft a case customized to your needs and desires, but they can provide an objective, third-party perspective as to which possessions you should argue vigorously for, and which ones might be better to let go in favor of more valuable alternatives. Not only that, but it can be difficult and confusing to decipher which belongings are classified as a community, separate, or transmuted property without the help of an expert. Classifying each of your possessions will depend on several factors, including the date it was acquired, what it’s worth or how large the sum of money is, and whether it was given as a “gift” (as outlined by California family property laws), and more. It is important to remember that community property also includes any debts that you and/or your spouse may have accrued during the marriage. However, when placed in the hands of an experienced property division attorney, these can become powerful bargaining chips when negotiating for other assets. There are certain matters that also fall under property division that we feel deserve specific attention, among which are pension division and spousal support. For more information on how we can help you with those topics, in particular, feel free to read more on our website and give us a call for your free legal consultation.