How Do you Divide the Stuff in the House During Divorce?
In California, all property that a married couple owns is considered to belong to the couple. The property, regardless of who acquired it, is considered community property. There are limited exceptions, including property that was owned before marriage or that was left only to one spouse in an inheritance during the marriage. Any property that falls within the exceptions is considered ‘separate’ property.
Most of the items in a shared family home are going to be considered community property. This means you will need to make decisions about how to divide the stuff in the house during divorce. You should ideally make the decision for how to divide up the property yourself, since involving the courts is going to get very expensive and complicated very quickly. However, if there are certain items that you cannot agree on, you can litigate the issue. An Irvine divorce lawyer can help you to determine how to divide up your possessions so you can resolve this issue in an inexpensive and fair way.
How do You Divide the Stuff in the House During Divorce?
If there is separate property in the house that belonged to one spouse or the other before marriage, that property should be taken by the spouse who owns it. Items you bought during the course of the marriage are community property, regardless of who purchased them. This means that you need to take the value of these items into account when dividing them up.
Ideally, you and your spouse should be able to work together to divide up the stuff in the house during divorce. You can each take the possessions that belong to you, or that you use. You can do this with a focus on trying to ensure that you each get an equal amount of stuff (one spouse gets the TV and the other gets the sofa, for example) or you can use some other approach. As long as you both agree, this should be a simple and straightforward transaction.
However, when disagreements arise- or when you have very valuable items like art or collections- it can become more contentious to divide up the stuff in the house during divorce. You may wish to work with a mediator who can help you to clarify the items most important to you and who can thus assist you in coming to an agreement to divide up property that is causing you to disagree.
If a mediator cannot help you and you truly cannot agree, you will need to litigate the issues. You will need to ask the judge to divide up the property that you are both fighting over. If the property is valuable, this process may involve getting experts to estimate the value. The judge will consider a number of factors in deciding who gets which specific pieces of property, with the ultimate goal of making sure that each spouse gets an equal share of the estate.
An Irvine family lawyer can help you to divide up stuff in the house during divorce. Call Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today to learn more about how a lawyer can guide you through the divorce process.