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What are Marital Assets and Debts?

marital problems cause by debts

What are Marital Assets and Debts?

Marital assets and debts are items that need to be reviewed and decisions made as to how these two things will be divided between the divorcing couple. Marital assets are all property and financial assets acquired during the period of the legal marriage, while marital debts refer to all financial obligations incurred during the same period. However, there are sometimes questions about  this rule, such as assets or debts acquired before the marriage or through gift or inheritance, and if after married, they were interblended in some way. For couples going through a divorce in California, identifying out marital assets and debts and deciding how to divide these acquired valuables and financial obligations can significantly impact the outcome of the divorce settlement.

Community Property Division of Marital Assets in Divorce

In California, property is divided under community property guidelines for distribution in divorce. In a community property state (such as California), any income, real estate, or other property acquired by either spouse during the marriage belongs to both spouses. Under community property laws, both spouses own everything equally, regardless of who purchased it or earned the income.

The goal is to equally distribute all assets accumulated during the course of the marriage. This includes savings, property, investments, retirement accounts, and any other assets deemed as marital.

Pre-marital and Separate Property

Pre-marital property is any asset that was owned by either spouse prior to the marriage. Separate property includes any property that was inherited or gifted to one spouse during the marriage. These assets are not divided during a divorce and remain the property of the original owner. However, if money from these non community property was used to acquire assets or to improve assets, the funds may become commingled and subject to division during the divorce.

Responsibility for Marital Debts

Marital debts are any debts that were incurred during the marriage, regardless of which spouse’s name is on the account, credit card, or loan. Both spouses are responsible for these debts, and they must be divided as part of the divorce settlement. 

Schedule a Consultation With Redwood City Divorce Lawyer

Dividing marital assets and debts, determining child custody and support, and finalizing other legal arrangements can make divorces complicated and sometimes acrimonious. Seeking guidance from Bradley Bayan, an experienced divorce lawyer is the best way to handle your divorce. 

Recently relocated to offices in Redwood City, CA, Bradley Bayan has been practicing Domestic Relations law for over 20 years with an emphasis on divorce law which includes dissolution of marriage, child custody, spousal support, and distribution of marital assets. Contact the Law Offices of Bradley D. Bayan at (650) 364-3600 to schedule a free consultation. 

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