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Los Angeles Complex Property Division Attorneys

The general belief with respect to divorce proceedings in the Golden State could be that a couple’s property is split fifty-fifty, but family law in California is not quite so simple. Who ends up with what during marriage dissolution or legal separation could hinge on a multitude of factors, such as:

  • At what stage the property was acquired,
  • How the title is held,
  • What income source was used to purchase it,
  • Whether the spouses ever moved in and out of state, or
  • Whether any written agreements exist with regard to the property.

If you’re thinking about a divorce, you might have questions about your property rights. You should speak with a well informed Los Angeles property division attorney today.

The Presumption Regarding Community Property

California family law presumes that all of the property acquired during the marriage by either spouse – while residing in the state – is community property. This can include real estate and personal property, and, in a few cases, trusts. Whether the real estate is situated outside of California, or other movable property is transported outside the state, has little relevance, as long as the spouses hold on to a domicile in the state.

Under specific circumstances, any pecuniary award in a personal injury lawsuit might also be considered community property by California family courts. A judge may assign liabilities, such as credit card debt, as community property, also. Nevertheless, even if the ownership of some property was acquired jointly during the marriage, the deed or some other legal ownership document may specify that the property is separate.

In this context, the presumption is rebuttable, which says that an attempt may be made in court to refute categorization of a particular valuable, for instance pension funds, as community property. However, acceptable evidence must be brought forth to convince the judge that an exception might be applicable: California case law necessitates at least a preponderance of evidence. That said, different requirements (as to level of proof – or as to the conditions of validity of property transfer) can apply to different details in every case, and the complexity can quickly escalate because of the fiduciary nature of the relationship that exists between married couples or domestic partners.

The California community property presumption is critical for a number of reasons: for instance, community property may not be sold or given away without the knowledge or the blessing of the other spouse. As soon as the divorce proceedings commence, restrictions are automatically put in place to severely limit any type of property transactions, such as sale, gift, or borrowing against marital property in general.

Division of Property: The Basics

The court’s decision on what counts as marital community property determines the division of property during divorce, legal separation, or nullity proceedings. As a general rule, the judge will split up community property between the spouses equally.

However, the domestic partners or spouses might be able to avoid such property allocation if they either

Keeping Separate Property

In general, a married person can control their separate property independently of their spouse. Some exceptions exist: for example, if one spouse files for an annulment, a divorce, or a legal separation, then temporary restrictions are placed on the sale of any separately owned real estate.

Separate property includes:

  • All property the person had in their possession before the marriage, including any profit from such property;
  • Any property the individual may have inherited, or received individually as a gift after getting married – again, this includes any revenue from such property;
  • Any earnings and wealth that was acquired after the legal separation of the spouses (or domestic partners);
  • Income that was earned while living apart and separately. This might include income of minor children who live with the spouse.

Transmutation: Turning Separate Property Into Community Property

California Family Code § 850 allows spouses to transform the property from separate property to community property, or from community property to separate property if the two of you consent – for example, by recording a title change: this is called transmutation.

Moreover, the separate property of one spouse can be transmuted into separate property of the other: if, for example, a wife opts to give her husband a sailboat that she purchased as a single woman, the separate property of the wife will then become the separate property of the husband. In other circumstances, when property was acquired by one of the spouses before the marriage, but the couple chooses to change title after the marriage to include both spouses as joint owners, the courts will then assume such property is community property.

For transmutation to be effective, it needs to be in writing. Additionally, if it affects the rights of third parties, such as creditors, they must be appropriately notified of any ownership change. All that said, small items, like a gift of small, inexpensive jewelry between spouses, generally are not required to be validated in a three-page agreement, so some exceptions do exist.


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Charle Butler
Charle Butler
2021-03-12
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I was hesitant to hire the Spodek Law Group. I read reviews and knew they have a great reputation. However, I thought I would spend money and not see or speak to my attorney. From the beginning to end of my case Todd and the entire staff were available and willing to help. We worked towards and end result that was way above my expectation and Todd delivered. I am forever grateful for patience and long days and night spent working on my case. Thanks Todd and the entire team!
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Mesonista parsons
2021-03-05
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My attorney at Spodek was Abigail. She was very knowledgeable and helpful with all my questions and concerns, as well as responsive. Her fees are affordable and Abigail took the time to make sure I understood everything relating to my case. I highly recommend Abigail and will request her services in the future.
debabrata chakraborty
debabrata chakraborty
2021-03-03
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Todd A Spodek is the experienced and best criminal lawyer at USA. He is very professional and always respond on time. Alex also very cooperative and always help me. They took care me and my problem like family member. I am 100% satisfied for their professional service. My result was unexpected and amazing. They dismissed my case. I am really grateful to them. I will recommend you to go there if you want to solve your problem. I wish all the best for them.
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Asata Hendricks
2021-03-02
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Truly appreciate the work the guys did!. Exceptional team & I know they care about each and everyone of their clients. I am super thankful to be referred to Spodek Law Group and I am grateful Todd & Alex were able to work diligently to achieve an outcome I am pleased with. Despite COVID they stayed on top of things and kept me informed every step of the way. Very thankful.
Mike Moroff
Mike Moroff
2021-02-26
Verified
I'm very satisfied with the services rendered by Todd, Alex and Mary Lou. I whole heartedly recommend Spodek Law Group . I've worked with and have retained other attorneys in the past with Todd's firm being the cream of the crop for many reasons. A very serious legal matter was resolved after a year's hard work and effort. Todd expertly guided me through the process and was able to navigate and make the good journey bearable as well as successful. Mary Lou initially provided excellent assistance before referring my case to Todd. Alex's support was effective and timely. The customer portal (MyCase) is an invaluable communication tool that also kept track of my case. Various aspects of my case were explained and there were several options provided but I made the final decision of how the case would be handled. The legal fee was reasonable considering the effort and amount of work plus it was a flat fee regardless of the length of time required to conclude my case. Todd made himself available to me and we had many scheduled meetings to go over the progress and to discuss the next steps. I felt more confident after many discussions with him. You will not go wrong choosing Spodek Law Group for legal matters.
Josh Katz
Josh Katz
2021-02-24
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Being that it was the first time that I was in need of an attorney, I was afraid and hesitant and knew I needed the absolute best. It is beyond understood why Spodek Law Group has a reputation of being the top, if not the best law firm in New York. Alex and Abigail were there every step of the way even at the most unconvenient hours. I could not have asked for more. They are extremely good at what they do and they delivered much much more than just winning my case. A big thank you to Alex and Abigail for all the guidance and counseling and their upmost loyal support that extended far more than just legally. If you need the absolute best than don't hesitate to hire Spodek Law Firm.
L.C.
L.C.
2021-02-24
Verified
I cannot tell you how thankful I am to Todd and Alex for their hard work and dedication to my case. I had never been in any trouble before but I had an unfortunate event occur and in the midst of COVID-19 at that therefore I knew I needed a team that was dedicated to my success. Today- my case has been finalized and I’m walking away with no record and can continue life as a mother and a Grad student worry free. I cannot express enough gratitude for their assistance.
AnnMarie Soliman
AnnMarie Soliman
2021-02-23
Verified
I received a summons and called Spodek law group for a free consultation. Alex took my call and was very quick and responsive. He was available anytime through multiple platforms and very reassuring when needed. They are extremely organized and thorough. They got my case dismissed! I’m very grateful. Thank you Alex and Todd!

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