A Family Law Court in California is required to equally divide the Assets and Debts of a couple going through a divorce. California Law requires that each person receive an equal share of the Assets and Debts that were acquired during the marriage.
The most common problem that the parties will have to deal with is how should each of the assets be valued in order for a fair division to be completed for each person.
Some assets are simple to divide. The value of a bank account or stock portfolio can easily be determined by looking at the most current account statement. There is usually no dispute as to the value of any cash assets.
It is often necessary to have the family home appraised by a licensed real estate appraiser in order to determine the current market value of the house. The appraiser will inspect the home and compare the size and quality of the house with other recent comparable home sales in the neighborhood. Each person is entitled to have their own appraiser inspect the house if they don't agree with the value determined by the other person's appraiser.
The Judge will often want to hear testimony from both appraisers at the Trial in order to decide what the value of the house is.
One of the most difficult types of assets to value would be a business that the parties started while they were married. The Court will need to make sure that each of the Spouses receives an equal share of the value of the business.
This will usually require the services of a Forensic Accountant. This is a Certified Public Accountant who specializes in inspecting and auditing business for legal matters. The Accountant will want to review the past few years of the Businesses' books and determine how profitable the business is. He will than issue a report as to what the current value of the business. Usually, one of the spouses will want to keep the business. This will require the spouse who keeps the business to pay the other spouse an amount of money equal to half of the business value.
This can often be a complicated issue requiring a considerable amount of Accountant and Attorney Fees to prepare for Trial.