Property Division

What is property division?

Property division involves separating the community property that the parties acquire during a marriage, and handling any reimbursement claims that one party might have against the other.  In many cases, the property settlement is not difficult because the parties do not own much property.  However, we have handled numerous cases in which the property situation was more complex.  Remember, you are dividing up not only the property, but also the debt.  The parties can voluntarily settle their property claims. If they cannot do so, the courts can force a division of property through what’s known as a partition lawsuit.

What is a partition lawsuit?

A partition lawsuit is filed after the divorce is final.  The first step in a partition lawsuit is to provide the court with a sworn list of all of the assets and liabilities owned by the community at the time the divorce is filed.  This is what’s known as a sworn detailed descriptive list.  Each party will then have a chance to challenge the list of the opposing party.  If your spouse left out some property, you would challenge their list at this point. The final step in the partition process is to have a trial in court where you establish all of the values of these assets and liabilities.  This is an actual trial in front of a judge.  Witnesses will need to be called to testify.  Documents will need to be introduced to prove the values.  Finally, the court would render a decision as to how the property is going to be distributed.  Typically, the court assigns different pieces of property to each of the parties and then balances the amounts given with what’s known as an equalizing payment.  This means that if one party receives $200,000.00 in assets and another party receives $100,000.00 in assets, the party receiving more would be required to pay the party receiving less $50,000.00 in an equalizing payment to make things fair.

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