Division of Marital Property


Division of marital property in California occurs differently than in many other states. There is no “equitable distribution” in California. Rather, California is an “equal division” state, and under California marital property division laws, property that is acquired or that appreciates during the marriage will be divided equally between the spouses. Marital property division may proceed under different rules only if the spouses had a premarital agreement to that effect.

Here are two examples of how California’s marital property division laws work:

  • If you owned a home before you got married, but paid down a mortgage during the marriage, your spouse would probably be entitled to some share of any appreciation in the home’s value that occurred during the marriage.
  • If your spouse worked during the marriage and contributed a portion of wages to a retirement account, you would be entitled to a share of that retirement account upon divorce even though you didn’t officially contribute to the retirement fund.

At the law office of Thomas E. Bouman, Attorney at Law, we evaluate your financial situation to determine what assets are marital property and thus, subject to division, how those assets will likely be divided and what you can do to avoid being saddled with a disproportionate amount of debt. As an established and respected marital property division lawyer serving San Jose, Mr. Bouman can recommend accountants, tax experts and other financial professionals to make sure the amount of assets claimed as community property is accurate and fairly evaluated.

Don’t be misled or intimidated by your ex-spouse’s attorney. Contact Thomas E. Bouman today and protect your rights and interests in the division of marital property.

Division of Marital Property ¾ Issues That Arise

Divorce attorney Thomas E. Bouman represents clients in regard to the following kinds of division of marital property issues:

  • Moore-Marsden calculations to divide the value of home equity
  • Qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO) to divide retirement funds, pension plans and 401(k) plans
  • Business valuations of closely held or family companies
  • Division of stock options and IRAs
  • The relationship between property division and bankruptcy
  • Valuation and division of professional practices
  • Marital standard of living determinations
  • Inheritances and lawsuit settlements
  • Tracing property to determine whether it is a marital or separate asset
  • Reviewing marital financial history to evaluate any claims of financial mismanagement or breach of fiduciary duty

Division of Marital Debt

An important component of any agreement regarding the division of marital property is the division of debt. Any commonly held loans or credit lines are subject to equal division at the time of divorce. Where spouses run into problems is when one spouse is alleged to have been the sole borrower on a loan or the sole owner of gambling debts.

For example, a jointly held credit card may have only been used by your spouse; now, at the time of divorce, there are thousands of dollars on it, even though you never used it. Are you responsible for half of that debt just because it accrued during the marriage?

While the general rule is both spouses are responsible for any jointly held accounts or lines of credit, it may be possible to negotiate a divorce settlement that allows you to accept responsibility for debt in exchange for something else. As your divorce lawyer, Mr. Bouman will propose ways to divide marital debts that do not leave you saddled with excessive risk or unfair portions of loan or credit card debts.

Contact Sunnyvale Divorce Attorney Thomas E. Bouman Today

The division of marital property can be complicated and confusing. Without knowledgeable legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney, you run the risk of accepting an unbalanced marital property settlement agreement.

Our office can help you avoid confusion and unwanted difficulties. To schedule an appointment and discuss how we can help you, contact the law office of Thomas E. Bouman today.