When you file for divorce in California, you and your spouse will have to divide marital property. You can potentially reach your own settlement or you can litigate the property division process and have a judge apply California’s community property laws to your assets.
Whether you intend to have a judge make the decisions or hope to resolve the division of assets outside of court, you will need to have a comprehensive list of assets and an appropriate value set for all of them.
Some assets will only require an estimate for the price that you use, but others demand careful valuation, possibly provided by a professional. Properly pricing the assets below will make it easier for you to achieve a fair outcome in your divorce.
Your marital home has likely absorbed a lot of your income during the marriage. You and your spouse will have spent years paying on the mortgage and thousands of dollars investing in maintenance and upgrades.
Real estate prices constantly fluctuate but tend to appreciate over time. You would do yourself a real disservice if you failed to obtain an appraisal in the divorce process. What you paid for the home is probably not an accurate reflection of its current fair market value and, therefore, your share of its worth.
A business or professional practice
If either you or your spouse started a small business during the marriage, you may have invested a substantial amount of marital assets in the development and maintenance of that company.
Businesses can be notoriously difficult to place an accurate value on because they have so many moving pieces. An in-depth financial analysis is often necessary for those who have a small business or professional practice among their many marital assets.
Other assets may demand careful valuation as well. Deferred compensation accrued during the marriage but not yet payable, valuable personal property like jewelry and even investment properties may require professional help for accurate valuations.
Knowing what a property is worth is the only way to ensure you receive your fair share of the community property in your divorce.