In California property is generally characterized as either community property or separate property. Community property is to be divided equally in divorce proceedings while separate property is awarded to the party who owned it.
Separate property assets are typically those acquired prior to the marriage, or after separation, or during marriage by gift or inheritance, and any gains or income attributed to such assets. Often a complex tracing analysis is needed to effectively assert a separate property claim to an asset. This may require utilizing the services of a forensic accountant as well as a competent and experienced family law attorney.
Some community property assets, particularly privately held business entities or professional practices, may have both a disputed characterization and a disputed valuation. In such cases working with an experienced family law attorney and an experienced and skilled forensic accountant takes on even greater importance.
Unless the parties and their counsel are able to arrive at a settlement regarding the characterization, valuation and division of the various assets contained in the marital estate the Court will ultimately be tasked with this assignment following a trial.
If you are facing issues pertaining to the characterization, valuation or division of property and to schedule a free one hour consultation please Contact The Law Office of Matthew J. Rudy