During a divorce, a couple will need to divide their money and property among themselves. For many couples, it isn’t easy to reach an agreement on this subject. They may turn to lawyers or court trials to settle the matter. However, mediation is one option for settling your financial situation outside of court.
It will require you to have frank conversations about money and your own needs, but it also gives you the chance to make decisions together instead of leaving them up to a judge who doesn’t know you.
How Do You Divide Money and Property After a Divorce?
During your divorce, you will need to determine how you and your spouse will divide money, property, and debt. It’s often more complicated than splitting everything right down the middle.
Some assets may be more important to you than others. For example, you may treasure your car, but not feel very attached to your spouse’s art collection. The division process is focused on making sure the assets are divided fairly and according to your preferences.
Prenuptial agreements are contracts written and signed prior to a marriage, and they contain details on what will happen to your finances in the event of divorce. If you have a prenup, that will provide the blueprints for what happens to your finances after the divorce.
Many couples don’t have a prenup agreement to rely upon, however. For those couples, taking a divorce to court means that local law will determine each person’s legal right to shared property and other assets. These laws can be complex and take a lot of time to put into action.
What Laws Determine Property Division?
In California, community property laws are one of the key laws when it comes to the division of property during a divorce.
Community property laws dictate that income and property acquired during your marriage belong equally to both spouses. The court will use this law as the guiding principle when dividing property during a divorce.
However, an attorney can help you determine what is and is not considered community property. Separate property has only one owner, and that owner can take this property in divorce. This includes things you owned before the marriage and gifts given specifically to you. You may need to prove that something is separate property in court.
Some couples that own numerous high-value assets decide to have real estate and valuable objects appraised before the divorce. Knowing what you have makes it easier to divide things fairly between the two of you.
If you want to avoid going to court and leave these important decisions up to a judge, you can try settling outside of court during a mediation process with your spouse. This option gives you more control over your agreement instead of leaving it up to an impersonal judgment from the legal system.
How Do You Divide Property During Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution that involves a neutral third party who will help you and your spouse reach an agreement on important issues.
Mediation is carefully structured and led by a trained mediator, but it’s ultimately an informal process that is guided by your needs. A mediator can make suggestions and present you with legal options, but they cannot solve problems or make decisions for you.
A good place to start is with an itemized list of your important assets. You can also get them appraised, to make sure the division of property is fair. That will make it easier to go through the list and declare who should get ownership of each item.
Finances, Properties, and Mediators
Finances and property ownership can lead to intense arguments between couples, but your mediator will help you stay on track and focus on the task at hand. Each of you can share your goals and top priorities. The process involves negotiation as well as compromise.
For example, you may both want to keep the house, but each person will need to present an argument as to why the house fits their needs. After some discussion, you may decide that it makes more sense for one person to keep the house, or for the couple to sell it.
Though it requires you to make difficult decisions, mediation is generally faster and more affordable than taking a case to court. It also has the benefit of being totally confidential.
You and your spouse can schedule mediation sessions at times that are convenient for your schedules. Divorce court, on the other hand, will set a schedule for you. A divorce trial is generally more stressful, time-consuming, and inconvenient than mediation.
What is a Divorce Settlement Agreement?
A divorce settlement agreement provides a record of your agreements with your spouse. It may include details on alimony, child support, and property division. This is where you can list which spouse gets ownership of which assets.
Experts recommend having an attorney or other legal professional prepare the text of your divorce settlement. Legal phrases have very specific meanings that a layperson may not fully understand.
If your spouse’s lawyer has prepared the agreement, it’s a good idea to have a lawyer of your own and assess the document to ensure it covers your interests.
Mediation Services to Finalize Divorce Agreement
Our mediation services can also help you create your divorce agreement. We have legal professionals on staff, people that can draft the final version to be filed in court and considered legally binding.
Once your settlement is filed, you can get started putting the terms into action. This may include selling off property, transferring titles, and other tasks.
Divorce mediation allows you to have more control over the outcome of your divorce. It may take some work, but you and your spouse have the potential to reach an agreement that better reflects your lives than a court judgment.
Experienced divorce mediation specialists Costa Mesa couples can rely on to walk them through the process are worthy of consideration. At Divorce Mediation of California, we charge a flat fee rate.
Schedule a free consultation and learn more about how our services can help you. Contact us at the Divorce Mediation of California today.