Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreement Attorney
There is nothing taboo about having an ironclad prenuptial agreement to protect family assets and businesses. Award-winning San Diego family law attorney Joseph Willmore make sure your future is secure, regardless of any outcome.
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Joseph Willmore, Esq.
Attorney Joseph Willmore exclusively practices family law, which includes divorce, child custody, support, and restraining orders. Prior to founding Willmore Law Firm, Joseph worked as a senior associate at one of the largest civil litigation and family law firms in the Southwest. Joseph’s family law practice quickly expanded, due to his reputation for zealous advocacy and ethical practice.
Joseph completed his undergraduate degree in Communication at Arizona State University, and attended law school at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where he graduated at the top of his class. Joseph served as an Editor of the Law Review and completed study abroad programs in France and China, honing skills in cultural relations, alternative dispute resolution, and mediation.
TO UNDERSTAND HOW A PRENUP OR A POSTNUP WORK, YOU MUST FIRST UNDERSTAND COMMUNITY PROPERTY LAW
Community Property Law
Regardless of where the marriage took place, divorces that are filed in California are governed by the concept known as “community property division.” This is always the case, unless a valid prenuptial agreement provides otherwise.
According to California community property law, all assets and debts acquired from the date of marriage until the date of separation is characterized as community property and subject to equal division between the spouses.
Methods of Division of Community Property
Community property and community debt can be divided “in kind” or not “in kind.” In kind division means that a particular asset or debt is literally divided down the middle, and the parties must equally split the value or the asset, or are each liable for one-half of the debt. This is only the case for assets or debts that are easy to determine and divide, such as a credit card balance, or funds in an investment account. It is common in divorce cases for the parties to distribute assets according to the interests of the parties and to equalize unequal division with an “equalizing payment.” A good example of this would be if one spouse wanted to keep the community residence. Assuming that the residence had equity, the spouse retaining the residence would owe to the “out spouse” an equalizing payment equal to one-half the total community interest in the property. This equalization could be negotiated and “traded” against other assets, such as retirement accounts, investment accounts, or cash on hand.
Claims for Reimbursement
Often parties will come into the marriage with significant separate property assets. Sometimes these assets are used to add to or to acquire property after the marriage. In a case where pre-marital separate property is used to add to or to help acquire a community property asset, when the parties divide that asset upon separation, the spouse bringing the separate property into the relationship is entitled to reimbursement dollar for dollar for the separate property used to improve or to acquire the community property. In complex high asset cases there could be complex webs of reimbursement claims that should be carefully analyzed by an experienced divorce attorney