Rob: Hello everyone, we are here with Santa Clarita family law and divorce attorney, Rand Pinsky. Hello Rand.
Rand Pinsky: Hello Rob.
Rob: Now Rand, you are serving Santa Clarita area correct?
Rand Pinsky: Yes.
Rob: How long have you been a lawyer?
Rand Pinsky: I've been practicing law for 40 year now, and probably the last 15 exclusively in Santa Clarita area.
Rob: Now in today's video, I want to talk to you a little bit about an issue that comes up, the issue of property division. Now, I understand California is a community property state. How does that play into the notion of property division?
Rand Pinsky: Well the first thing we have to do is understand what is community property.
Rob: All right.
Rand Pinsky: Community property is anything that is acquired by the party during the course of the marriage. And it doesn't matter whether it was bought by the wife's money or the husband's money, or their earnings. Either one, during the course of the marriage, that particular asset becomes a community property asset.
Rob: Okay. What about this community property? Does it have to be divided equally or what do we do with that?
Rand Pinsky: The law does say that there needs to be an equal division of the community property at the divorce process. So that doesn't mean you get a spoon and she gets a spoon, or you get a knife and she gets a knife, or a plate and a plate. It means value wise. So some of the items that we look at, and probably the biggest three items that any community has, would be one the community residence, two, any IRA or 401K, three would be pensions.
Rob: Oh. What about those? I mean that sounds really dicey and confusing, IRA and pensions. How do you split those up?
Rand Pinsky: Well first of all, there's something . . . since these things are governed by federal law, there's a document that you create, and there's attorneys that specialize in doing this called a qualified domestic relations order. So you look at the account, if it's a 401K or an IRA, and if it started during the course of the marriage, each party gets 50% of this asset. Now again, because it's earned during the course of the marriage, anything that you may have earned prior to the marriage is your separate property. Or anything earned after the date of separation is your separate property. So it's only between date of marriage and date of separation.
Rob: So sounds to me like there is a concerted effort to make sure that the estate or all of the assets in general, are divided equally as much as possible.
Rand Pinsky: Yes, in fact, family law is very strong on full disclosure of assets. And during the divorce process, you'll have to fill out a document called a schedule of assets and debts. And this schedule which is a very helpful tool to the family law attorney, will go through any possible asset you may think of. So it covers houses, and cars, and savings, and insurance. It covers all your debt, credit card debt, tax obligations, student loans. It's a very extensive list.
Rob: You know, I didn't talk about this with you before, but what if one of the spouses were to try to hide assets or. . . do you ever run into that, where people are not quite you know, fully disclosing what they have?
Rand Pinsky: Oh it has happened. And courts, because of their strong feelings of full disclosure, if a person does not offer all their information and it's later determined that they have withheld or hidden assets, the court can either award that entire asset to the other spouse . . .
Rand Pinsky: Or file some type of sanction against that individual.
Rob: Okay, so full disclosure best way to go.
Rand Pinsky: Absolutely.
Rob: What about you know, gifts a spouse may have received or an inheritance? What about those kinds of things?
Rand Pinsky: Well you've identified things that are outside of the community property definition. So if you get a gift, if you get an inheritance, as long as you keep these things separate and don't commingle them . . . and that's a lingo term for combining your assets into the family's asset. These things can very easily be determined to be your separate property. Also personal injury awards can be separate property.
Rob: Well Rand, thank you so much for the time you spent with us today about property division. And if people want to get in touch with you and talk about their specific situation, how can they reach you?
Rand Pinsky: Best way, you can go to my website, RandPinsky.com, or call me (661)295-4644.
Rob: Thank you very much Rand.
Rand Pinsky: You're welcome Rob.