Making A Plan For Property Division
Anyone who is planning for divorce in the San Jose area should know that California is a community property state. What this means is that all property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community in nature and must be divided equally between the spouses. In order for all community assets and debts to be divided equally, the court will need to know about all property owned by the spouses, and it will need to properly characterize property as separate or community. Only community property is required to be divided in a divorce, and separate property may be retained by the parties individually. Generally speaking, community property includes all assets and debts acquired after the date of your marriage but before the date of your separation.
How can you be sure that the courts know about and properly characterize all assets and debts? You can make a checklist for yourself. Consider the following information and how it might help you to accurately date the acquisition of assets and debts, and in some cases, identify assets that your spouse is trying to conceal in order to avoid division.
Real Property You Own
Some married couples in San Jose own a primary residence, but they might also own other property such as a vacation home or rental property. Be sure to list and gather mortgage documents, homeowners’ and property insurance, deeds, and related documents for the following:
- Primary or marital residence;
- Vacation property or properties;
- Business property or properties if any; and
- Property or properties used as rental income.
Property in Your Home and Other Properties
Once you have identified real property you own, it is important to then identify assets in your home and other properties, noting dates of acquisition and any appraisals that have been completed. While it might take some time, it is important to list any assets that fall into the following categories, and to gather documentation related to those assets such as purchase orders or receipts, appraisal and insurance documents, and other similar materials:
- Art, antiques, and any other valuable aesthetic items in your house;
- Books, including rare book collections;
- Furniture, being sure to list every item of furniture that will need to be identified and classified, even if you do not think it has much market value;
- Electronic items, including computers, televisions, audio equipment, speakers, appliances, and more;
- Clothing and jewelry; and
- Vehicles, including cars, trucks, boats, motor homes, ATVs, and any other vehicles.
It is also important to identify all intangible assets, such as:
- Retirement accounts, including IRAs, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, and pensions;
- Insurance policies, particularly, whole-life policies with a cash surrender value;
- Bank accounts, including checking and savings accounts; and
- Stocks, bonds, and annuities.
In addition to identifying all assets, whether you believe they will be listed as separate or community property, you should also identify all debts owed and gather any documents that clarify when the debt was accrued.
Contact a San Jose Property Division Lawyer
One of the experienced San Jose property division attorneys at Foster Hsu, LLP can speak with you today about any community property questions or concerns you have.