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What is a Schedule of Assets and Debts in a California divorce?

After child custody and child support, one of the most contentious issues faced by couples who are getting a divorce is property division. That includes assets and debts and is a factor whether the couple has significant assets or is of more modest means. For those who have come to the end of a marriage, there are certain factors related to assets and debts that are foundational and should be understood from the start. When deciding how the assets and debts will be split, couples should list their property.

Couples can benefit from looking at their property and determining, which is separate property and which is community property. They should also assess its market value. With a divorce, this is a legal requirement as the Schedule of Assets and Debts is filled out. This is a form the spouses are required to exchange when they disclose their finances.

Without it, the divorce cannot be completed. The parties will declare the assets and debts. Everything -- separate and community property alike -- is listed. While some spouses might try to hide certain assets, this is unadvisable. There are penalties for doing so and the person will inevitably get caught.

After the Schedule of Assets and Debts is complete, the spouses can compare them. There might be a disagreement or there could be a difference in the estimation of the properties' value. For some spouses, doing this can be the basis of an agreement between the parties to avoid a long and drawn out court battle. Once these are compared, it is possible that the couple can agree on assets and debts and move forward with their lives.

Understanding the basics of a divorce will make the entire process easier. This is especially true with property division. Filling out the Schedule of Assets and Debts and doing so accurately can speed the process and avoid rancor. Naturally, not all cases will be free of disagreement and some will escalate into an outright battle. With any issue related to property division in a divorce, having legal advice is a must and a qualified lawyer should be called as soon as possible.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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