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4 major assets that could be at risk in a high-asset divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | Divorce

The more resources people accumulate throughout their marriages, the more complicated their divorces may become. In California, the community property standard helps guide the process of property division. Unless there is a written agreement between the spouses, they will have to share almost everything earned or acquired during the marriage unless they reach a mutually-agreeable alternative arrangement that doesn’t require judicial intervention.

Higher levels of income mean more valuable property at risk during divorce proceedings and more for people to disagree about when negotiating. These are some of the resources that may be particularly valuable – and vulnerable – when evaluated per community property statutes in a California divorce.

Equity accrued in real property

The marital home where a couple has lived together and also any vacation home or investment properties that they purchased during the marriage may be major contributing factors to the total value of the marital estate. Dividing real property can be a complicated process that requires verifying fair market value for those assets and then either selling them or refinancing them in many cases.

Retirement accounts and pensions

Married couples usually spend their retirement years together, and they may have dedicated a significant percentage of their household income to saving for retirement. Even when retirement accounts or pensions are employment benefits held in the name of one spouse only, they are frequently vulnerable to division during divorce proceedings.

Stock options and other deferred compensation

Those in highly-paid professions often receive a base salary and benefits, as well as deferred compensation or incentive pay. Stock options are a way to motivate someone’s best performance and keep them at the company for as long as possible. They can also prove a point of contention during a divorce, as they can be difficult to value and even harder to divide before the distribution of that deferred compensation.

Business interests

Those who start their own small businesses or professional practices will devote huge amounts of time and personal resources to the organizations that they run. It can be a challenge to place an accurate value on a business and also to find a way to compensate someone for a portion of that value without diminishing the company’s ability to function in the future.

Those who own real property or businesses, as well as those with retirement savings and complex compensation packages, often require professional guidance as they prepare for divorce proceedings. A California family law attorney can help someone understand what community property statutes mean for their assets and may help them both set realistic goals and push for the best possible outcome during property division proceedings.

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