Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Disputes can arise even in a community property state

Readers of this divorce blog may know that California is a community property state. That means that marital property is generally divided equally in a divorce.

However, problems can still arise over the definition and valuation of marital property. For example, consider the scenario of one spouse desiring to stay in the couple’s house. That spouse may wish to compensate the other spouse for his or her corresponding share in the property. However, depending on how contested a divorce is, the other spouse may dispute the valuations. That, in turn, may require the assistance of a divorce attorney who can work with financial experts to present evidence that substantiates the original valuation. Ultimately, the divorce court may be forced to issue a ruling on that evidence before the house is valued.

In addition, a spouse may also challenge property that another spouse is defining as separate property. Gifts, inheritances, certain awards from personal injury lawsuits, and property owned before the marriage or specifically excluded from the marital estate by a prenuptial agreement are examples of property that is generally considered separate. However, a spouse may attempt to dispute the validity of a prenuptial agreement or mischaracterize gifts as joint property.

If a family business is involved, even more complex questions involving property, assets and debts may arise. Without an effective legal advocate, a spouse may not know the best strategy for protecting his or her interest and pursuing a fair outcome. An attorney that focuses on divorce and property division can help prepare the evidence needed to support claims and provide advocacy when disputes become contentious. 

Source: Forbes, “Divorcing Women: Here's How to Protect Your Inheritances And Gifts,” Jeff Landers, Aug. 19, 2014

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