Deciding who will keep the house, the car, and other assets as part of a divorce can be difficult. These are some of the items you may have worked hard to get, and you might not want to let them go. As part of your divorce, you will likely have to part with some of the property you have acquired during your marriage. In California, the premise for property division is based on the concept of community property. Here are three things you should know if you are dividing property in California.
Property division can occur in different ways
California is a community property state, but this doesn't necessarily mean that you and your ex will divide every single bit of property straight down the middle. Instead, you and your ex can work together, usually through the mediation process, to come up with a property division settlement that works for the both of you. This gives you both some leeway to decide who is going to get what in the settlement.
If you can't come to an agreement or are unable to work through mediation, the court can make the determinations about how community property is divided.
Assets and debts must be covered in property division
When you are working on a property division settlement, be sure that you consider assets and debts that were acquired during the marriage. It is often difficult to divide assets up so that each spouse gets exactly half of each asset. Using debts to offset the asset overages is one way that you can handle property division. As you go through the mediation process, be sure that you are keeping a running total of the amount of assets you are due, as well as the amount in debts that you will owe. You should also know what your spouse is going to get. You don't want to get stuck with the majority of the debts and the smaller share of the assets.
Agreements aren't always enforceable
The divorce settlement between you and your ex is a civil order, and it must be approved by a judge before it is considered finalized. Because it is a civil matter, creditors and other parties don't have to abide by the terms of the settlement. Those creditors coul d come after you if your name was on the account, even if your ex was supposed to pay the bill.
If you think that your ex might not pay for debts as ordered in the settlement, you should learn what options you have for dealing with the debts. You must be extra cautious when you are dividing debts during a California divorce. Learning your responsibilities and rights during the division of property is crucial.