Community Property Laws in San Mateo County
Whether dividing a high-value marital estate or one with more modest assets, we will provide a creative and aggressive approach to protect your marital property interests and to insure a fair and equitable division of property.
Community Property Division
California is a community property state. That means, generally, that all income earned and assets acquired from the beginning of the marriage until the date of separation or trial, absent a written agreement to the contrary (e.g., a prenuptial agreement) is community property and must be divided equally between the parties. Similarly, all debts incurred by either spouse during the marriage and until the date of separation are community debts or liabilities for which each spouse is equally responsible. Our goal is to provide creative and practical solutions to dividing community property and community debt, without sacrificing our client’s community property rights. We do this by drawing upon our experienced attorneys, as well as certified public accounts or other financial experts to determine the true income and value of a variety of assets and business entities, such as closely-held corporations, partnerships, trust, real estate, public and private securities, stock options, retirement accounts and pensions, that may be part of the parties’ marital property.
Spouse’s Owe Each Other Fiduciary Duties With Respect to the Management and Control of Community Property
Absent a written agreement to the contrary, such as a prenuptial agreement, neither party has the exclusive right to manage or control community property. That means each spouse owes the other the highest duty of good faith and fair dealing to the other spouse and neither can take advantage of the other with respect to the management and control of community property. This duty continues throughout the marriage until the date the community assets and liabilities are distributed or divided. In the event of a breach of this duty, the aggrieved spouse has a statutory right to bring an action for an accounting, and other relief, such as being put on title to property held in the name of the other spouse alone, in addition to one-half the value of any asset undisclosed or transferred in violation of the party’s fiduciary duty to the other spouse, and for reasonable attorney’s fees This fiduciary duty is so strong that a statutory claim for breach of fiduciary duty can be brought against another spouse even if there is no pending divorce or legal separation action.
As you can see, issues of property division of marital assets and assignment of marital debts and reimbursement claims raise complex issues that may go unnoticed or may be resolved incorrectly without an experienced and aggressive property division lawyer. Contact our law office for a consultation to help you protect your community property rights and get your fair share in any property division settlement or trial.
- Please Contact Us today to schedule a consultation to discuss the community property issues in your case.