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What Will a Divorce Accomplish?
A divorce court will attempt to divide the property of a marriage in the most economic manner possible, provide each spouse with the right to remarry and set reasonable support.
In California, the property division involves an equal split of all property acquired by the parties during the marriage, from their work effort. Inheritances, for example, are separate property of the recipient. The exceptions and complications associated with this rule are lengthy. In order to get though this process our office recommends reducing these issues to an accounting page that is shared between the parties to redirect the dialogue to relevant financial issues an away from purely emotional issues in order to complete this aspect of the process.
The distribution of specific assets will vary depending on the circumstances of each particular case. That is why it is often difficult for attorneys to predict exactly how the divorce court will handle the division of a couple's property and is why our office strives to start an accounting worksheet early in the case. Some assets maybe liquidated while others awarded one particular party.
Ultimately upon division of assets an equalization payment will have to be made to balance the distribution of assets between the spouses according to the accounting or judgment of the court if the parties are unable to settle the matter.
Divorce will also give each of the parties the legal freedom to remarry.
In those cases where one party is not financially self sufficient to maintain the marital standard of living, reasonable support becomes an issue. In short marriages this will be for half the length of the marriage. In long marriages the court will at least reserve jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support until death or remarriage, unless a lump sum buyout is agreed upon.
Generally, debts incurred during the marriage are community obligations. This includes credit card bills, even if the credit card is in one name only. Student loans are an important exception because they are considered separate property debts. Community property possessions and community property debts are divided equally unless both spouses agree to an unequal division in writing. If spouses can't agree on the division of debts and possessions, a judge makes that decision.
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