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Property division: Bigger does not necessarily mean better

Hindsight can be a wonderful thing, but sadly it usually comes too late for one to act upon it. In the majority of divorce cases, the division of assets will be relatively simple; however, where there is a large amount of wealth involved it may be necessary to seek professional financial advice. When it comes to property division, many California residents make the mistake of assuming that the most valuable assets are the most obvious ones.

One may be forgiven for thinking that the family home is the biggest asset, but in fact this may be dependent on many variables. It is possible for a good investment portfolio to be worth considerably more than one piece of real estate. If one intends to sell the family home, any loans that are secured against it will need to be paid off before one can benefit from the proceeds of the sale. If one intends to keep the property then it is worth bearing in mind that real estate will also require funding for ongoing maintenance and upkeep.

It can be tempting to use the services of friends and relatives who have financial training, but this may not necessarily be in one's best interest. It is often better to keep business and personal allies in separate camps. This can also assist in preventing conflicts of interest from affecting things like investigations into the possibility of hidden assets.

Ill-considered decisions at this stage can affect California residents financially for many years. Once all assets have been properly assessed it will make the financial position much clearer, allowing an attorney to pursue a more favorable settlement for his or her client. In this manner, property division need not become part of one's regrets over the divorce.

Source: Time Money, "Why Your Divorce Lawyer Can't Protect Your Finances", Melissa Montgomery-Fitzsimmons, Feb. 16, 2016

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