Under California law, any property that a couple accumulates during the marriage is considered "community property." Likewise, any debt acquired becomes "community debt." Both assets and debts are typically divided equally upon divorce. Determining the property and debt that belongs to the marital property can be very complicated. Properly identifying, valuing and dividing the assets and debts is a very serious part of the divorce process, one that can have lasting effects on the parties involved. If you are facing divorce, it is critical that you contact an experienced family law attorney who is fully familiar with the process in the San Diego county court system.
A recent case illustrates one of the problems that can arise when the divorcing couple is working toward assessing the community property that will ultimately be divided between them. Here, the couple married in 1993 and the husband filed for divorce in March 2003. The court ordered the husband to pay spousal and child support, but at some point he fell behind in his support payments. Once that happened, the California Department of Child Support Services got involved and issued an order requiring Morgan Stanley to withhold funds from the husband's retirement accounts in order to collect child support arrears.
Throughout the lengthy proceedings that began in 2003, the spouses filed many motions and opposing responses, all in an effort to resolve questions about the division of assets, namely, the husband's defined benefit pension plan. In late July 2010, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the husband from transferring any funds in any Morgan Stanley account in his name, the name of his law firm or its pension plan. Two weeks later, the husband transferred approximately $100,000 from his pension plan into his Merrill Lynch trust account.