Californians contemplating divorce may be interested in the rules on dividing debt and property in the state. Having a completed plan to divide assets and debt is necessary and must be supplied to the court.
According to the California courts, a good first step is to list all commonly and separately owned assets and debts. After, a couple might look over the list to see whether there are any disagreements on whether an asset is marital property or separate property or whether either partner assigns a value to an asset that is considerably different from the one assigned by the other spouse. If one marriage partner tries to hide an asset or does not include it, they may be subject to penalty imposed by the court.
Assets and debts should be divided about equally, but the court recommends using caution when dividing obligations such as credit card debt. In instances where credit cards are jointly owned, if a former spouse does not make payments on the assigned debt, the credit card company may legally hold the other party liable for the debt. Opening a new account in the name of the party who is paying the may prevent this from happening. This would avoid negative credit repercussions on the non-paying individual.
In some instances, a divorcing couple has trouble deciding how to divide assets and debt in a divorce. They might also find it difficult to evaluate and agree upon the worth of an asset. In this case, a mediator may be a good idea to assist in working out an acceptable division.
However, if mediation is not a viable option, an individual contemplating divorce may benefit from consultation with a family law attorney. An attorney may assist by protecting a client’s interests during negotiations over a divorce agreement. In addition, if negotiations are not successful, the attorney might litigate the case on the client’s behalf.