Property division is one of the most contentious issues in divorce. Even when a couple is determined to make the process harmonious, the legal intricacies of complex property division can become overwhelming. California divorce law is especially notorious for this. However, these detailed laws can also present advantages for both.
Any discussion of property division should begin with a list of assets including possessions like homes, cars and artwork. Bank and retirement accounts and debts should also be counted. When the current value of an asset is not known, it should be appraised.
Community property laws were originally designed to protect women. The idea is that both partners contribute equally to a marriage, so the wife is entitled to an equal share.
It is easy to see the importance of this protection when you look at divorce laws in places like India, where if a woman files for divorce, she is not entitled to a share of the home even if it was bought during the marriage.
Men in India often buy property and hold the title, but register it legally in their wife’s name, because women pay lower registration fees. If a couple divorces, all the man has to do is prove that he holds legal title and that the property was bought with his money.
These laws in India are currently under government scrutiny. It is possible that they will be changed in the near future and women will be allowed the right to claim a share in residential property titled to the husband, regardless of when it was acquired.
Many divorcing couples are able to work out property division on their own. In complex situations, it is best to seek legal advice to be absolutely certain that both partners receive a fair share.
Source: Business Today, “Opening the Exit Door: How to divide property without hassles after a divorce,” Pritam P. Hans, March 2013