An asset is a piece of property that is owned by someone. It can be real property, such as a parcel of land or a residential structure, or a piece of personal property, such as a work of art or a piece of fine jewelry. Some assets are intangible, like investment accounts, while others are controlled under the possession of their owners.

When a California couple chooses to divorce, the partners’ assets can play a major role in the outcome of their marital dissolution. Although California is a community property state, shared assets that are owned by both partners to a marriage should be valued so that their actual worth is determined.

Valuation is the process of determining the market value of a piece of property. While a person may be able to check the actual value of their bank account by logging into their savings or checking portal, they may not have a clue of how much a family heirloom is worth. Valuation can involve taking a piece of property to experts and having them establish its condition, quality and other factors that may increase or decrease its worth.

Once a couple’s assets are properly valued, the partners will have a much more accurate understanding of their financial situation than they had before. From the information that they gain during the asset valuation process, they may be able to make responsible choices regarding the disposition of their shared assets pursuant to their divorce.

High asset divorces can be made complex simply through the need to understand the value of the parties’ owned property. It can be of great benefit to a divorcing party to work with an attorney who understands the critical role that asset valuation may play in a California divorce.

Source: FindLaw, “California Property Division,” accessed Dec. 5, 2017