If you have high-value assets, you likely have a lot on your plate as you head into a divorce. A marriage bearing high-net-worth—especially between both parties—can bring many complications. Such high-value assets may be anything from stocks and bonds to real estate—and if you obtained them during the marriage, and you cannot negotiate terms on your own, then the assets will likely go through a court-facilitated division.
California is a community property state, so divorce courts will approach all relevant property division according to what spouses shared in the marriage. That is, shared property, assets and even debt accumulated during the marriage may face division. One way to tell if a property is community property is whether one or both spouses purchased the property with money earned during the marriage.
While this process can get quite complicated, it may be helpful to expect a 50/50 split of properties and debts accumulated during the marriage.
The higher the value, the more you stand to lose – be prepared
No process is perfect; a lot can happen to put your share of the property at risk. But there are a few things you can do to best prepare for the division:
- Take note of all your property – recreational vehicles, collectibles, artwork, furniture, anything that may be of value may be reviewed in the division process.
- Understand is separate from community property – separate property may include anything obtained prior to the marriage, gifts obtained during the marriage and property obtained using separate assets.
- Figure out the fair market value of your property – this will help you when it comes time for potential negotiations. If you understand the value of your property and you believe the split is fair, you could save time and money by avoiding a court-ordered division.
Note also that there is a type of property called “quasi-community property.” Quasi-community property is property purchased while living outside of California. Such property is still, in the eyes of the state, community property.