Dividing Community Property and Debts

Depending upon the length of your marriage, you accumulate an abundance of items during marriage.  In the unfortunate event of a divorce, items and property you once never imagined dividing must now be divided.  If you share with family and/or friends that you and your spouse are at a point in your Dissolution of Marriage process of dividing your belongings, chances are you will receive an abundance of opinions on how this division “will” or “should” go.

You may or may not be aware that California is a “community property” State.  That means that each party is entitled to one half of the assets, or value of the assets, acquired during marriage.  Likewise, each party is responsible for one-half of the debt acquired during marriage.  If you are lucky, yoiu and your spouse will be able to amicably divide your community property assets and debts.  Most often, however, this is not the case.  Emotions run high during a Dissolution of Marriage proceeding and, as a result, agreeing on a full division of your community property assets and debts is not likely.

When dividing community assets keep in mind that, if the Court must intervene and assist in this process, your furniture, furnishings and appliances are given yard sale value.  There are exceptions such as antiques, certain art work, collectibles and other such items.  Requiring Court intervention, and the associated costs resulting from your Attorney having to address this issue, can quickly  result in you spending far more than the value of the item(s) being fought over.  There are few circumstances that exist that would ever necessitate the need for you to seek the assistance of your Attorney in dividing your furniture, furnishings and appliances.  This is something the two of you should find a way to resolve between you.

When dividing community property debt, remember this.  The Family Law Court may divide community property debt, such as various credit card obligations, between the parties.  Although this division may specifically be set forth in your Family Law Judgment, credit card lenders are not bound by the Family Law Court Orders.  If both parties, while married, signed together for a credit card, or any other installment debt, you both have signed a specific contract with a specific lender, making each of you equally liable for any debt incurred.  If this debt becomes delinquent, your lender maintains the legal right to seek payment, and collection efforts, from each of you.  The division set forth in your Family Law Judgment has no bearing in this case.

As you can see, division of community assets and debts can be confusing and create many questions.  This is a specific area of a pending Dissolution of Marriage of Legal Separation that Attorneys Bawden or Kochis can discuss with you, in depth, during a consultation appointment with our office.  Receiving valid legal advice can sometimes make what seems an impossible endeavor completely doable.  Please call us and schedule a consultation today if you are facing a Dissolution of Marriage action and have questions about the division of your community property assets and debts.

If you want a better understanding of dividing community property and debts, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. The Law Office of Bawden & Kochis also handles legal issues regarding adoption, annulment, mediation, child custody (with no accompanying domestic violence), child and spousal support as well as pre-marital and post-marital agreements. Telephone (909)792-0222, or email us at [email protected]

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