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California Property Division and Divorce

California is a “no fault” divorce state which means that grounds for divorce are rarely controversial. Instead, property division and custody arrangements are usually the most important issues to resolve between the spouses during a separation.

As our experienced Santa Rosa divorce lawyers often explain, a “no fault” divorce means that the spouse filing for the divorce is not required to prove that the other spouse committed any kind of misconduct, such as infidelity or domestic violence. In California, it is enough for the spouse to simply state that the couple cannot get along. However, before the spouses can go their separate ways, they must resolve several issues, including the property portion of the case. Depending on the amount of property that must be divided and what property is considered a marital asset, establishing a property division agreement between the spouses can be a lengthy, contentious, and downright stressful process. coins.jpg

Obviously, if the couple acquired a lot of property together during the marriage, it will likely take longer for the spouses to reach a mutual agreement, further dragging out the divorce proceeding.

For example, a recent story in the Press Democrat reports that Susan Decker, a former president of Yahoo, and her husband, Michael Dovey, finally reached a settlement on Monday in their divorce. They filed for divorce in 2007. It took five years to reach a settlement in large part due to the property involved, including about $71 million in real estate, stock, cash and other assets.

Other issues that extended the divorce proceedings were allegations of infidelity, drug use, and spying. Although these issues are irrelevant in the granting of the actual divorce, since California is a “no fault” divorce state, our Santa Rosa child custody lawyer knows that such allegations are can become relevant when children are involved, ultimately slowing down the process of finalizing a divorce. In this particular case, the allegations were pertinent factors to consider since Decker and Dovey had three children together. The judge will take these factors into consideration when determining custody of the children when they might affect what is in their best interest.

However, although custody of the children prolonged the divorce proceeding in this particular case, the main reason that the process was protracted was due to the large amount of assets the couple acquired during their marriage. Whatever the amount and type of assets involved, a couple going through a divorce must understand what exactly qualifies as “property” before a property division agreement can be established. Our Santa Rosa divorce lawyer can explain how property includes anything that can be bought or sold, and it is also anything that has value–such as bank accounts and security deposits. The court ultimately makes decisions regarding how to divide the property that was acquired during the marriage. However, couples have the option to divide their property by agreement on their own, but the judge must sign off on that agreement.

Because of the complexities that may arise during the property division portion of a divorce, in our area it is always important to seek the advice of an experienced Santa Rosa divorce lawyer. Our attorneys have years of experience guiding families through this process and ensuring that partners going through a separation have a strong advocate looking out for their unique interests.

See Related Blog Posts:

Uncovering Marital Assets in a Divorce

Where do I File for a Divorce in California?


The family law attorneys at Beck Law P.C., available to help with a wide range of legal needs. Our experienced professionals can help with divorce, child custody issues, child support concerns, and in many other situations. Your visit to the Beck Law Offices is always confidential. Please get in touch with us to learn more. You can contact our office for a free consultation at 707-576-7175 or contact us online.

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