Must a judge be involved in a California property division?

Spouses about to get divorced often worry about the potential for a conflicted property division process. Agreeing on anything during a divorce is easier said than done, but agreeing on what happens to the family home, shared debts and items of sentimental value can be difficult if not impossible for some spouses. Many spouses in California may assume they have to go in front of a judge for property division, but this is not always true.

In California, even when couples agree on the division of marital assets, a judge must still sign off on the agreement. However, this does not mean that every former couple must go in front of a judge to discuss their property division details. Before doing anything, though, it can be extremely helpful to obtain advice from a Southern California property division attorney. A family lawyer can offer sound legal advice as well as an individualized strategy matching each client's property division objectives.

A spouse can benefit from knowing that until a judge has signed off on their property division agreement, the property obtained during the marriage is still considered community property. California is a community property state, which means that when two individuals marry or join together in a domestic partnership, they are actually considered a single legal "community" under the law. As a result, marital property belongs to that community until the judge signs off on asset and debt division.

Some spouses in California will try to avoid going in front of a judge at all costs and attempt to simply agree on everything themselves. If an agreement is not approved by a judge, though, parts of it may not be valid - for instance, debt can still belong to both spouses even if one spouse agrees to pay it off himself or herself. In almost every divorce-related legal situation, it can save time, money and frustration by doing things right the first time. An experienced asset division attorney can help spouses whose goals are to stay out of court or resolve a dispute in whatever manner possible.