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What happens if marital property is destroyed or moved?

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2022 | Divorce

Divorce can bring out some of the worst behavior in people. Even if you and your spouse are on good terms when you decide to divorce, the stress and emotions involved in a divorce can cause your amicable relationship to quickly deteriorate.

What is considered marital property?

One of the most challenging parts of most divorces is marital property division. Marital property is any property that you and your spouse obtained during your marriage, and it must be divided between the two of you in your divorce.

When dividing property, it is easy to think that if the property is physically in your possession, it’s yours, or that if property is destroyed, it cannot be counted as part of property division. This is not true.

Do not destroy any marital property. Additionally, do not physically move any marital property unless it is an item that you absolutely need, such as medication or your clothing, or unless you have permission from your spouse, preferably in writing.

You have options

If your spouse moves or destroys marital property, you have various options through the California legal system. Prepare in advance if you are worried about what your spouse will do with your property.

Take pictures of all marital property as soon as possible after deciding to divorce. After that, make a list of which items of marital property you believe should go to you, and why.

Destroyed property

This way, if your spouse destroys a piece of marital property, you have evidence proving that the property existed and is now gone. You can ask that you receive a payment for the value of the property as part of your divorce settlement.

For example, your spouse may sell a valuable piece of your jewelry, worth approximately $1,000, out of revenge. While you now cannot receive that piece of jewelry as part of your property division, you can ask that your spouse reimburse you for the value of the jewelry.

Moved property

Your photos will be helpful if your spouse removes marital property and takes it to their new residence or stores it somewhere with hopes of hiding it. You can request they produce the property or pay you for the value of the property.

Having professional advice and guidance through the divorce process is crucial. This increases your chance of obtaining a fair resolution to your divorce.