Complex Marital Estates

San Jose Complex Marital Estate Lawyer

Many married couples move to the Bay Area for work, bringing with them property that would be characterized as separate property in other, non-community property states. In California, property acquired during the marriage is deemed community property, unless otherwise specified by prenuptial agreement or statute. Usually, the bigger the marital estate in California, the more complicated it will be to properly value, characterize, and divide the property between the spouses. San Jose divorce attorney John S. Yohanan has over 35 years of experience offering clients advice and representation in their complex marital property disputes.

Dividing Marital Property Under California Law

Defining property appropriately is critical to achieving an equitable divorce settlement. If you are dealing with division of multiple properties, as well as business interests, investment holdings, retirement accounts, or other assets, you face significant tax consequences. With my knowledge and resources, my staff and I can help you through the most intricate family law challenges.

I have cultivated relationships with leading accountants, appraisers, and other financial experts so that I can obtain the most comprehensive analysis of your case. I can advise you on strategic options concerning the division of:

  • Investment real estate
  • Securities portfolios that contain stocks, mutual funds, or bonds
  • Family business or professional practice assets such as goodwill
  • Pension, 401(k), and IRA accounts
Identifying Commingled Funds

Couples in Santa Clara County often have complex marital estates, containing both separate and community properties. For example, if a closely held business was created before the marriage and was operated throughout the marriage, certain aspects of the business may be subject to division, while others are not. Similarly, over the course of a marriage, assets can become mixed or "commingled," as when a separate asset is used to acquire the marital home. A forensic accountant with refined skills may be needed to help trace the source of commingled funds that could be characterized as your separate property.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty in California

During a divorce, it may be difficult to be fair to your partner. However, in California, spouses have a fiduciary relationship to each other. This means that because they stand in a confidential relationship to each other, they have the duty to adhere to a high standard of good faith and fair dealing. This concept extends to community property, including family business operations and handling of investments. Under California Family Code Section 1101, a spouse may have a claim against the other spouse for a breach of fiduciary duty that leads to impairment of the first spouse's existing undivided one-half interest in the marital estate.

This duty extends through divorce proceedings until the court finally divides the community estate. Spouses have a fiduciary obligation to provide accurate and complete disclosure of their community property and their separate assets and liabilities before and during a divorce.

Unfortunately some spouses attempt to conceal or misrepresent the value of disputed assets or obligations. I have skills in this complex area so that I may provide you with exceptional service if you believe your spouse has breached his or her fiduciary duties or if your partner has accused you of a breach of fiduciary duty.

Experience When It Counts

Whether you are negotiating a divorce settlement, or going through a divorce trial where extremely high-stakes property values are at stake, seasoned San Jose divorce lawyer John S. Yohanan can help you make your case. My deep understanding of California family law gives my clients a significant advantage in the assertion and protection of their rights. Contact me today at (408) 297-0700 or via the online form.