Davis Property Division Lawyers Representing Northern California

  • Pakpour Banks is based in Davis, CA, and is proudly serving Davis, Woodland, Sacramento, West Sacramento, Vacaville, Dixon, Fairfield, Roseville, Elk Grove, and surrounding areas.
  • Our team has been successfully representing cases in Yolo County, Sacramento County, Solano County, Placer County, Colusa County, El Dorado County, and Yuba County.
marital property division

Pakpour Banks LLP provides legal services to individuals involved in property disputes. When couples divorce, one fundamental process they must go through is the division of marital property. 

Property division is usually one of the most contested issues during a divorce or separation. Because couples typically combine their finances and resources during the marriage, family courts must determine the property’s value and who will receive what. Our Davis property division lawyers can help you through this process. Contact us today.

Community Property Laws

California is unique in that it is one of the nine community property states (ten if you count Alaska, which permits couples to opt-in to the community property scheme).

Community property laws differ state to state. In California, community property generally means that each dollar earned by the parties during the marriage is divided in half at the time of divorce. 

Separate Vs. Marital Property Division

Unless the parties agree otherwise, community property includes all property earned from the date of marriage to the date of separation. (See California Family Code section 760). Everything else is separate property, which belongs to the party who received it.

Separate property includes all property earned by the respective party before marriage, after separation, or during the marriage by gift, inheritance, or bequest. (See California Family Code section 770).

When parties divorce, the court must divide the “community estate” equally, unless the parties agree otherwise. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether the property should be considered separate or marital property. Consider a scenario where one spouse brings an asset to the marriage, like a home, and continues to make payments or improvements on that asset throughout the marriage. In that case, both spouses might have an interest in the property, even though the property itself is considered separate.

Complex Property Division

In family court, parties typically litigate over the characterization of the property (community or separate), value of the property, and how best to divide it (i.e., Who gets the house? Who gets the car? etc.). Similarly, parties dispute who will be liable for debts accumulated for the community, i.e., the mortgage, car loans, and credit card debt. The courts will divide debts equally, even if they have a negative fair market value.

Possible Division Methods

Family courts use numerous approaches when dividing assets and debts: 

  • One spouse can receive an asset or debt in exchange for assets or debts of equivalent value; 
  • One spouse can “buy out” the other spouse’s interest in an asset; or 
  • The couple can sell assets and split the earnings. 

The usual divorce involves a combination of these and other measures. Frequently, the judge will adjust the division methods to fit the specific facts and circumstances of the case.

Disputing the Proposed Division

California community property rules presume all property acquired during the marriage is community property. Nonetheless, you will have an opportunity to dispute whether the property should be considered separate property and its value. To win the argument, you must prove your claim by a preponderance of the evidence. During a complex property division dispute, you may need to hire professionals such as detectives, company valuation experts, and forensic accountants.

Restrictions On Disposing of Property Between Separation and Divorce

Once a spouse files a divorce petition, California law places restrictions on property transactions. Neither partner can lawfully sell or give away common property without the other partner’s knowledge and approval. Additionally, a partner cannot borrow against community property during this time. Finally, while you can normally control your separate property however you wish, you cannot sell it until after the division.

Davis Property Division Attorneys

In a divorce, it’s common for spouses to contest the classification, value, and division of assets. Only an experienced property division attorney can defend your rights. At Pakpour Banks LLP, we have decades of experience in complex property division cases. Many of our attorneys are Family Law Specialists certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. When you call us, you’ll reach an approachable and accessible small firm. We value our relationships with our clients and will work for a fair outcome. Contact our California property division attorneys now.