Newport Beach Property Division Attorneys
Dividing Assets and Debts in Orange County
With all the emotional pressures and uncertainty associated with divorce, it can be extremely difficult to focus on your finances. While you may be intensely aware that divorce will have a major financial impact on you and other family members, defense of your property interests can take a back seat to other key concerns such as relationships with children and maintaining your business and career.
At the Burch Shepard Family Law Group, you will find Newport Beach family lawyers who know California divorce and property division laws in depth. We strive to help relieve the burden of worry about financial issues by analyzing your situation and then clearly presenting all viable options and their implications so that you can make decisions with confidence.
Thorough Analysis and Advocacy To Protect Our Clients' Financial Futures
As Certified Family Law Specialists recognized by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, our attorneys are prepared to handle any property division challenge, however complex.
We have proven strengths in negotiation, mediation and litigation of complex disputes, as well as ready access to specialized professionals who may prove essential in matters involving:
- Disposition of your family home and other real estate, including establishment of fair valuations and determination of who will take possession or whether property should be sold.
- Treatment of assets one party brought into the marriage or inherited and thus claims should be treated as separate property rather than community property subject to division.
- Valuation and ownership interests in a business or professional practice.
- Equitable division or aggressive protection of retirement plans such as 401(k) accounts, pensions, stock options and other investments.
- Allegations that either spouse has hidden assets or unreported income that should be subject to division and accounted for in child and spousal support awards.
- Fair division of debts incurred during the marriage as well as assets — a major issue for many couples across the economic spectrum in these volatile times.
- Tax considerations relevant under various property division scenarios.
- Negotiated exchanges enabling people to preserve specific assets — from vehicles and jewelry to a vacation home or ownership and control of a family business.
Community Property Vs. Separate Property
Some of the most challenging and complex financial disputes in California divorces involve one spouse's claim that certain assets are his or hers alone. Proving that this is the case—or, conversely, that the assets in question are community property subject to equitable division—often requires extensive research and accounting knowledge along with a full understanding of the applicable laws.
Generally speaking, California law requires treatment of all money and other assets acquired during a marriage as community property subject to equal property division in divorce. Money and property acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage, after legal separation or as a gift or inheritance is often considered separate property under the law.
Beyond these basic guidelines, there are a range of exceptions and extenuating factors that may pertain, especially if your marriage lasted many years or the disputed assets are complex ones such as business ownership interests, real estate, stock options, investment accounts and securities.
Our established and respected firm, focused exclusively on California family law, is a proven resource for people who have significant assets at stake. With decades of experience handling complex property division and ready access to skilled forensic accountants and other experts, our attorneys in Orange County are impeccably well-equipped to deal with your case requiring distinction of separate property from community property.
What Must Be Disclosed In Property Division?
Every divorce is a lawsuit, and California law requires both parties in a divorce to fully disclose all assets, debts and transactions to the other. Failure to fulfill these spousal fiduciary duties can have serious consequences for anyone who does not provide full disclosure, including costly financial penalties and court orders to pay the wronged spouse's attorney fees.
Financial disclosure as required in a California divorce can be a complex, detail-intensive process — especially for those with substantial assets that may include business interests and investment accounts.
Our lawyers' exclusive focus on family law, close connections to qualified financial professionals, and decades of experience in high net worth and intensely contested divorce cases equip us well to:
- Guide our clients through every step required by law, including thorough preparation of the necessary schedule of assets and debts, declaration of income and expenses and other documents.
- Obtain accurate valuations of known complex and fluctuating assets such as real estate, business holdings and investment accounts.
- Resolve whether specific assets are community property or separate property belonging to one party alone, based upon their sources and when they were acquired.
- Locate hidden assets or income if either spouse believes the rule of full disclosure is not being followed.
Schedule a Consultation With a Resourceful Lawyer: (949) 565-4158
If you have concerns involving financial disclosure in divorce, Certified Family Law Specialists at our firm can offer counsel based on in-depth knowledge of current laws and recent court decisions. We will be sensitive to all unique aspects of your case and work hard to achieve the best possible financial outcome for you.
We encourage you to turn to our firm with your concerns about dividing assets and debts in divorce.
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