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In terms of divorce litigation, an equalization payment is a payment made from one spouse to another for the purpose of offsetting an imbalance in joint property assets if one spouse receives more than the other.
For example, property earned during the marriage is to be split, by law, 50/50 between each spouse after the marriage ends. However, some property assets cannot be equally divided and must either be sold to allow profits to be split, or one spouse will keep the asset. In that instance, the spouse that keeps the asset must pay the other spouse half of the value of the property being kept (a car, a house, a collectable, etc).
California is a "community property" state, which means that the state considers all property acquired by either spouse during a marriage to be joint property and must be divided equally in the event of a divorce. Inherited assets or gifted assets are the only exceptions. If divided unequally, an equalization payment may be agreed to or ordered.
The division of assets and property after a marriage ends can be a stressful and complicated process. Though community property is commonly split 50/50, the court could also decide an equitable distribution is more appropriate. It can become an expensive divorce quickly and may lead to disputes over which assets belong to which spouse.
Lawyers with experience in equalization payments can help determine and document your assets when going through a divorce. Attorneys can help assess value of property and settle disputes regarding which assets belong to whom, and when the property was attained. Equalization payment lawyers will work with financial experts to ensure any equalization payments that are ordered by the court are fair, and similarly can petition the court if an equalization payment is owed to you.
If you are going through a divorce and need assistance with equalization payment issues, a family law lawyer can help you. Attorney Search Network can help you find a family law lawyer that is skilled in equalization payment cases.
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