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Complex Property Division

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Recent Developments in Community Property Law

Los Angeles Community Property Attorney

Dividing community property during the marriage dissolution process would seem to be straightforward. All property, assets and debts obtained during a marriage (with some exceptions) are supposed to be divided equally between the spouses. In practice, however, dividing community property can become an extremely complex endeavor.

Early on in divorce proceedings, each party has a fiduciary duty to disclose full and accurate financial information regarding their assets and debts. Due to the complex nature of property division in divorce, and because decisions made at the time of divorce can affect individuals for years to come, it is critically important that each party honors his or her duty to fully and completely disclose this information.

In reality, divorcing couples are not always honest and forthcoming about their assets and liabilities. Oftentimes, one party will purposely withhold information that could be used to increase the other spouse's divorce settlement. By hiding assets in off-shore accounts, being dishonest about true income, undervaluing assets, or misrepresenting information when full financial disclosure is required, parties may breach their fiduciary duty.

The Santa Monica law firm of Cooper-Gordon LLP often represents clients whose spouses have failed to disclose financial information in divorce. We understand the emotional and financial toll this “game-playing” takes and strive to obtain the compensation our clients rightfully deserve. In certain cases where one spouse breaches his or her fiduciary duty to the other spouse's disadvantage, the victim spouse may be eligible to receive a 100 percent interest in property that would have otherwise been divided equally.

Identifying what is truly community property, valuing it and dividing it fairly requires an experienced community property attorney. Cooper-Gordon LLP has been advising and representing clients in divorce and community property matters for over 30 years, including many complex property division cases.

The attorneys at Cooper-Gordon LLP work with accountants and other financial experts in such breach of fiduciary duty cases. With the use of expert assistance, we are better able to fully understand the parties’ true financial situation. As a result, we can work toward a resolution that keeps our clients' best financial interests in mind.

Call 800-561-6322 for a consultation at a reduced rate. An attorney at our firm can evaluate your situation and discuss areas of potential concern. Our goal in every case is to protect our client's rights and interests.

Achieving a Fair Property Division Settlement

In working to obtain a fair division of property, Cooper-Gordon LLP closely examines every aspect of the situation. We will systematically evaluate the origins, transformations and
valuations of the properties involved. In achieving a fair property division settlement, there are five key areas of inquiry:

  • Characterization of Property — identifying what is separate and what is marital property.
  • Transmutation — tracing how separate property was transformed into community property.
  • Valuation — valuing financial assets, debts, real property and possessions.
  • Division Issues — assisting with fairness issues and practical considerations regarding the division of property, such as what to do with the house. In particular, there are very tricky issues with regard to refinancing of the family residence, especially when separate property has been contributed either as the down payment or to pay down the mortgage payment. The reverse can also be troubling when a separate property residence is refinanced by the community or when the community pays the original separate property mortgage payment. Expensive litigation can ensue unless you consult a lawyer specializing in this area of law, as we do, as soon as possible, preferably when contemplating the change in ownership or refinancing of real property.
  • Tax Planning — minimizing the effect of taxes.

Pension Plan Survivor Benefit may not be awarded entirely to one spouse if result will be an unequal distribution of the community interest in the pensionPractice Pointer

Your situation has unique characteristics that require knowledgeable and informed counsel. The lawyers at Cooper-Gordon LLP have extensive experience with these and all other aspects of property division and family law litigation. We will work to achieve a fair and practical resolution of all property division issues, while protecting your rights throughout the process.

For a consultation with Cooper-Gordon LLP with main offices located in Santa Monica, California, call 800-561-6322, or contact us online. We offer initial consultations at a reduced rate.