Murrieta Family Law Firm Temecula Divorce Attorney
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When Do I Need to Sell My Property in My Divorce?

People get possessive in a divorce, which is a reasonable response. There are many concerns about what property you might keep or lose, and you can’t always control these outcomes.

Among these concerns is what property, if any, you might have to sell. California uses a community property division model. It attempts to give each spouse 50% of the overall marital assets.

Using this model as a guideline, here are some situations that may require you to sell property in your divorce.

Selling Property to Meet an Equal Division of Assets

Generally, marital property is anything you purchased during the marriage. Even if your spouse never touched or showed interest in the item, they are technically a co-owner.

Imagine, for instance, that you built a valuable comic book collection during your marriage. Let’s say it is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. When you divorce, you may be asked to give your spouse half the value of that collection.

You might be able to simply give them half the physical collection to meet this demand. If you plan to keep it for yourself, however, you will owe them money.

This is where problems arise. Value is often within an asset itself. Assuming your collection is worth $100,000, you would owe your spouse $50,000 to keep it. That’s a lot of money, and you may be simply unable to make that payment.

To meet the state’s equitable division requirements, you could be forced to sell property.

Selling Property to Keep Up with Expenses

Let’s be clear, a complicated divorce can get expensive. It takes time to sort out a large collection of assets. In a divorce, time equals money.

You could also be forced to pay your spouse’s legal fees. When that happens, the opposing side might participate in “churning.” This is where your spouse’s lawyers continue to introduce new claims, drawing out the divorce and collecting bigger paychecks.

As a practical matter, you may need to sell property simply to cover your bills.

Alternatives to Selling Property

Fortunately, there are solutions to this problem. To avoid a lengthy, expensive courtroom battle, you can choose an uncontested divorce. Legally, you and your spouse can make any decisions about support, property, and children on your own. Once your agreement is on paper, you can file it with the courts where it becomes official. This will save you time, money, and distress.

For many couples, amicable agreements are not possible. Divorce is both a legal and personal matter. Feelings of betrayal and resentment may make it impossible to work together. In that case, you can opt for mediation.

In this process, both spouses meet with a legal professional who acts as a neutral third party. This mediator has specialized training that helps you communicate and keeps things civil if negotiations break down.

In the best-case scenarios, the process becomes collaborative. You can truly work together and hear one another’s needs. This keeps difficult emotions at bay and gives everyone agency over the final divorce rulings.

Reach out to our team with concerns about keeping or selling your property in a divorce. You can reach us by calling (951) 779-1610 or filling out our online contact form.