Although California is a community property state, there are steps that you can take to protect real estate holdings in a divorce. For instance, you can put them in a trust, include them in a prenuptial agreement or negotiate a deal that allows you to retain those assets in exchange for other property.
Make sure assets get placed in a trust long before divorce proceedings begin
A judge may declare a trust invalid if he or she believes that it was created simply to interfere with the property division process. You can minimize the risk that it will be declared invalid by creating the document as soon as you close on the purchase of a home, retail space or vacant lot.
Prenuptial agreements can override state property division rules
Creating a prenuptial agreement may allow you to retain full control over real property even if it would otherwise be considered a joint asset. Ideally, you will allow an attorney to review such a contract before it becomes official. Doing so may increase the chances that it will withstand any legal challenge that your spouse may mount during the divorce process. If you don’t have time to create a valid contract before your wedding takes place, it may be possible to come to terms on a postnuptial agreement.
An attorney may be able to help you obtain a favorable outcome in your divorce proceeding. This individual may do so by reviewing a prenuptial agreement to determine if its terms are still likely valid. Your legal adviser might also ensure that a trust was created in accordance with state law. If necessary, he or she might make changes to an existing document to minimize the probability that it’s thrown out by a judge.