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San Mateo California Family Law Blog

Is your ex hiding assets from property division?

Creating a sense of financial security for life after divorce requires more than a single-faceted approach. From securing essential post-divorce payments -- including alimony and child support -- to obtaining half of the marital assets during property division, California family law provides ample opportunities to ensure that a person is not financially stunted from divorce. Unfortunately, some individuals try to circumvent these protections by hiding assets during their divorce.

Hiding assets is a popular method used by those who want to keep more than their share of the marital assets. These individuals might use a variety of approaches for keeping assets hidden, such as claiming that they lost an asset or that it never existed in the first place. Temporarily transferring property to another person until the divorce is finalized is another common approach.

Do credit card rewards points factor into a high asset divorce?

Credit card rewards programs are a significant draw for those who use their cards responsibly. Many people in California use their credit cards strategically so as to optimize their rewards. However, during a high asset divorce, these become another complicated asset to value and divide.

It is important to determine whether the rewards points are either separate or marital property. If one individual can thoroughly demonstrate that they opened the card and earned all of its related rewards points before marriage, then he or she may keep them as separate property. In general though, rewards points earned during the course of a marriage are considered to be community property. This is true even if only one person opened the account and spent money on the card.

Second marriages and property division -- consider a prenup

Getting married is an exciting and magical experience, but those who are ready to tie the knot for the second time around may understand just how important it is to be prepared. Prenuptial agreements can be especially helpful in this regard. Not only have these individuals already dealt with property division before, but they also understand that divorce is a reality even for the seemingly happiest of California couples.

Remarrying after age 40, 50 or even 60 usually involves significantly more assets than marrying for the first time at the age of 25. Individuals usually have real estate, motor vehicles, retirement savings, investments and more that they want to protect. Some also want to ensure that their assets are protected so that children from a prior relationship can still receive their intended inheritances. Prenups can even give couples the opportunity to address important topics that will come out throughout the course of their marriages.

Keeping separate property out of property division

As young adults in California prioritize their careers, they tend to put off marriage until a later time. The intervening years between establishing a career and tying the knot are often a prime opportunity to accumulate a large amount of personal property, and combining those items during marriage is not always easy. When dealing with separate and marital property, keep the following in mind to avoid huge property division headaches.

One of the easiest ways to formally document separate and personal property is to use a prenuptial agreement. Couples can use a prenup to list their personal property before tying the knot, ensuring that these items will not be subject to community property division if they divorce. However, not everybody is in favor of these documents.

Worried about co-parenting during child custody? Don't be

California parents have plenty to worry about during divorce, which can lead to serious tensions. From figuring out property division to settling on the right amount for child support, there are plenty of opportunities for emotional turmoil to take control. When issues are bad enough, some parents may even begin to question whether they are making the right choices regarding child custody. While it is normal to worry about children's well-being, evidence demonstrates that children still fare well when their parents' co-parenting relationship is not wholly cooperative.

Researchers looked at approximately 400 divorced parents who were co-parenting at least one child between the ages of 10 and 18. Researchers expected to find that children whose parents effectively co-parented with one another not only fared better emotionally, but also had more stable relationships with their parents. Factors in stable parent-child relationships included parental knowledge of things like the child's daily schedule.

Dealing with a high asset divorce after decades of marriage

Virtually no one in California weds with the intent of filing for divorce later on. However, the reality is that many couples are simply unhappy after spending years or even decades together, and the best option is to end the marriage. This might feel easier said than done, especially in the case of a high asset divorce that comes after decades spent together.

While the divorce rate for adults younger than 50 has significantly dropped over the past several years, those over the age of 50 are divorcing at higher rates than ever. For this age group, the rate actually doubled in only 25 years. Now, one out of every four divorces involves someone older than 50. While there is no wrong time to get out of an unfulfilling marriage, doing so at this age often comes with extra complications. Complicated assets, retirement accounts and life's worth of entangled marital assets all have to be addressed.

Will child custody prevent me from moving out of state?

Moving can be an enormous undertaking. From securing new housing to figuring out the best way to transport household goods, the entire process can be incredibly stressful. Add in child custody matters to the mix, and most people would probably rather stay put. However, moving is sometimes a necessary part of life, so parents should be certain that they understand how to handle their child custody issues during the process.

If a custodial parent plans to move outside of California, it is possible that the noncustodial parent will not object and the move can proceed as planned. However, if the noncustodial parent does not agree with the move, then the matter can quickly become complicated. In these situations, it is generally up to the custodial parent to demonstrate that the move is not only necessary or in good faith, but that it is also in the child's best interests.

How is property division handled in California?

Most people in California understand that they will have to split up their property in a divorce, but far fewer individuals understand how this process works. This can make heading into the property division process extremely distressing. Some people may even put off filing for divorce out of fear that they will lose their most prized assets. Securing a better understanding of the laws that govern property division can help put some of these fears at ease.

California is a community property state, which means that most property obtained after saying "I do" is considered to be marital property. All marital property must be divided up equally between the divorcing spouses, meaning that each person should receive half. This division does not take things like income or the length of the marriage into account.

Jeff Bezos in a high asset divorce without a prenup

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are about far more than simplifying the divorce process or opening up new lines of communication. A carefully crafted pre or postnup can protect a person's assets, California business interests and far more. When it comes to dealing with a potentially high asset divorce, these protections can be essential for securing the best possible outcome.

Jeff Bezos might be most well-known as the CEO and founder of online retailer Amazon, but he has recently been in the headlines for his impending divorce. After 25 years of marriage to novelist MacKenzie Bezos, the couple are ready to end their marriage and move on separately with their lives. However, as the wealthiest man in the world, Jeff Bezos has quite a bit on the line, including much of his business interests.

High asset divorce:W to seek a new financial adviser

Handling complicated assets, large bank accounts and financial investments is not for the faint of heart. When this much is on the line, California couples usually turn to professional advisers for help and guidance. But when it comes to a high asset divorce, should couples continue sharing the same advisers, or should they aim for a cleaner financial break?

Making a clean financial break from an ex-spouse might sound easier than it sometimes is. In many cases, one person continues to pay alimony to the ex. If children are involved, someone is usually paying child support. While these are necessary financial payments that can continue to temporarily tie a couple together, sharing a financial adviser does not have to be.

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