COMPLEX PROPERTY DIVISION IN DIVORCE
Get Help from Proven San Diego Divorce Attorneys
In high net worth divorces in San Diego County, matters involving the ownership of a business, and situations where one party may have a substantial separate property estate, there are frequently complex property division issues.
In its simplest terms, California community property law presumes that property acquired during marriage is community property, to be divided equally between the two parties at the time of dissolution. However, if one party contributes funds from a separate property source towards the acquisition of an asset, even if this asset was acquired during marriage, the contributing party can and should make a claim for preservation of this separate property interest.
The right to be reimbursed for separate property may depend upon the party contributing these assets being able to “trace” the separate property funds used. This tracing process can require an analysis of source documents and possibly the engagement of a CPA or other expert to confirm the separate property claim.
Business Division During Divorce
Even when a business existed prior to marriage, California case law provides the community may have a proportionate interest in this premarital business. When the issue of community versus separate character of a business arises during a dissolution action, expert witnesses are generally required to provide appraisals at various dates.
In addition, a detailed analysis may be required, including the amount of community effort devoted by either spouse to the operation of business, the reasonable compensation for any services rendered, and a return on the separate property investment that existed on the date of marriage.
In high net worth cases, parties may own custom residential real estate or commercial real estate. These assets require sophisticated appraisals to produce a reasonable opinion of value.
Dividing Investment Assets
Investment assets are common in high net worth cases. These investment assets may include limited partnerships and other business entities controlled by third parties. It is essential an analysis be performed, not just as to the value, but also as to possible methods of division of these types of investment assets. For example, there may be prohibitions in permitting a division of these assets in-kind (i.e., one-half of each item to each party). There may be restrictions against the sale of assets.
Formal or Informal Discovery
Formal or informal discovery may be needed in complex property division cases to obtain the source documents necessary to complete a thorough evaluation of a particular asset. California law permits discovery not only on the other party, but also other witnesses who may have information pertinent to the case. In representing the party with lesser knowledge, the San Diego divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC has developed standard procedures to obtain the necessary information.
In representing the party with greater knowledge, our firm has the necessary experience to advise the client as to the requirements for disclosure of information. Since 1993, California law has mandatory disclosure requirements. Our firm is experienced in completing these requirements and compelling compliance of the other party. In a complex property division case, disclosure of information is essential to either settle or litigate the matter.
Get Help from a Seasoned San Diego Divorce Firm
The Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC has decades of experience in representing high net worth individuals. A significant proportion of our cases involve the analysis and/or division of potential community property business interests. Attorney Beatrice Snider has been involved in the San Diego community, as well as statewide, in suggesting models and procedures for the division of business assets.
Contact the firm at (888) 860-8544 FREE to learn more about your options and rights during complex property division.