Sometimes, a marriage simply does not work out, in which case divorce is inevitable. However, just because you are getting a divorce does not mean the divorce proceeding has to be a bitter, drawn-out battle.
With divorce mediation, you can work with your spouse on achieving a settlement of which both of you approve. This alternative to divorce litigation can be especially helpful if you and your spouse are in disagreement with how to handle property division. Without using a mediator, you both will end up having to go to trial and let a judge in California determine how to split your assets.
California is a community property state, which means that a judge will split you and your future ex's property 50/50 if you go to trial. This property can include valuable items, such as family homes, paintings, cars and furniture. However, it may also include assets that are intangible, such as legal title, stocks and bonds. Other examples of community property include interest income that business investments as well as operations earn, and wages that either spouse earned during their marriage.
Separate property in California is not subject to property division. This type of property includes any item that you or your spouse owned prior to your marriage, or anything inherited by or gifted to you or your spouse while you were married. You also do not have to divide anything you earned following your separation date. Examples of this type of property include personal injury proceeds and separately held bank accounts.
How does a judge determine property division?
When divorce cases go to trial, a judge in California will decide how to handle property division based on a few important factors:
- Each spouse's earning capacity
- Which parent serves as the children's legal caretaker
- Whether there are faulty grounds, such as cruelty or adultery
The benefit of choosing divorce mediation over traditional litigation is that you do not have to worry about what determination the judge will make regarding the division of your property in California. Instead, you and your spouse can make your own determination and thus feel far more in control of the outcome of the divorce proceeding. Making informed decisions about how to split your assets will help you to be in the best financial position possible following your marital split.