Those who have been or are currently going through a divorce know that one of the biggest issues is asset division and debt distribution. According to California law, there are specific ways that debt is distributed when divorce occurs. Here are some basic parts of the law and how they apply in your divorce.
In California assets and debts are assigned upon marriage to the husband and wife as the "community". At that point, any assets or debt acquired belong to the community. California's Family Code, section 910 provides that debt acquired during the marriage belongs to the community regardless of who's name it was acquired under. If there is debt acquired separately by one individual prior to the wedding and community assets are used to pay it down after, the "community" has a right to reimbursement upon divorce. This applies in the same way when a spouse uses premarital property to invest in or buy community property. However, the paying party must be sure that the money can be "traced" (bank records showing that the funds went from a premarital asset into a marital asset) in order for reimbursement to be possible.
Courts will need to know if the debt was necessary for support of children or one of the spouses. They will also want to know if there is a child support or alimony order in place. If none of this applies then the debt will often be assigned to the spouse that will be paying support. With respect to payment on assets like a car or a home after separation, the paying spouse has the option to seek reimbursement from the community for the money they paid.
On a final note, there are several qualifications to relevant California statutes called "Epstein credits." An example of this is when a spouse chooses to use current earnings to pay down a community debt before the divorce is final, but after separation. In such instances, the payer would be allowed reimbursement from the community assets.
Regardless of your individual circumstances, it is important to seek out a legal professional that has experience with your type of divorce case. Nothing can substitute for the knowledge and experience of a qualified family law attorney. Individual circumstances and facts vary from case to case. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice. Any and all questions about divorce, support or family law should be directed to a qualified and experienced family law attorney.
If you have further questions about spousal support, divorce or other family law issues, contact our offices today for your confidential consultation.About Cardiff, California:
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, or Cardiff, is a wonderful little beach town in Northern San Diego. Located near the popular communities of Encinitas and Solana Beach, this great beach spot is a popular desitination for tourists and locals alike. With great surfing spots, top knotch schools, terrific little restuarants and a variety of community events, this little town is ranked by locals as one of the hidden treasures of San Diego.
For their legal needs, residents of Cardiff often use the North County Regional Center in Vista. The facility is located on 325 South Melrose. For more information on services offered at this location and hours of operation, contact the center directly.About Doppelt & Forney, a Professional Law Corporation:
Divorce is complicated and can be emotionally challenging for all parties involved. We understand that at Doppelt & Forney, a Professional Law Corporation and strive to do everything we can to help you through this difficult time. As part of our exemplary service, we offer a confidential legal consultation where you can speak with an experienced attorney. During this session, we will listen to the unique facts of your case and help you develop a plan on how to achieve your legal goals. Our attorneys are educated, experienced and compassionate. And as members of both the San Diego County Bar Association and the San Diego County Better Business Bureau, you can count on us to be your trusted family law resource.
Just a quick drive from Cardiff-by-the-Sea, our offices are located in the easy-to-find town of Rancho Bernardo. When you exit the freeway, simply turn East on Bernardo Center Drive and then left into the Clock Tower Office Complex. Parking is free and we can be found on the second floor. Our hours are from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. We are closed on weekends and all legal holidays. You can schedule your appointment today either online or by calling 858-312-8500. We look forward to speaking with you soon.