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Knowing California property division rules can be helpful

Being prepared for what to expect can help during the divorce process when dividing assets and debts from a marriage. Being aware of the procedures associated with the divorce process can help conclude the property division process more amicably. It is helpful to first be familiar with property division laws in the state where the couple is divorcing. In California, property division is determined according to community property rules, which presume an equal division of property.

Secondly, it is helpful to understand the difference between marital and separate property. In general, assets acquired during marriage are considered marital property. Marital property can include retirement, investments, pensions and property and vehicles.

It is important to keep in mind that while some divorce-related issues may be subject to modification in certain circumstances, such as spousal support, child support and child custody, property division settlements are generally final and are not subject to change later on. Because of this, and given the complexity of assets and debts, it is important to evaluate what the parties will do when the family home is awarded to one party while the mortgage is in both parties' names.

To help facilitate a smooth property division process, couples should provide accurate financial declarations and not hide assets. Divorcing couples should keep in mind that they should take current and future needs into account when proceeding through the divorce process. Remaining focused on the future and the overall outcome moving forward can also help put things in perspective and avoid a lengthy divorce process.

The family law process seeks to help couples navigate the divorce and property division process and mediation professionals can be invaluable. Whatever their circumstances, divorcing couples should be as familiar with the property division process as possible when entering and proceeding through a divorce.

Source: Men's Divorce, "10 Quick Property Division Tips," Accessed Jan. 31, 2016

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