Property division during divorce at zero or negative value

Asked about 1 year ago - San Ramon, CA

I got divorced in Dec 2011. Negotiation of property and cash division and custody arrangements were done via emails and through my EX distant cousin playing the mediator role. The discussion of division went on for more than 2 months and mostly via emails.
I used services of an attorney to look through the documents and help me guide through the process to keep the costs down. There were 5 real properties involved in the negotiation. Documents were prepared by my attorney after reaching mutual agreement, properties were given to me at zero or negative values and cash and other assets to her. I tried later on for her to transfer the deeds of those to me but she did not. Now she is claiming fraud based on zero or negative value. I did not commit any fraud. Is it a fraud? What are my options?

Additional information

I filed motion in the court to perform on the judgement and have the deed transfer signed. Where my EX cried and claimed she discovered fraud ...the judge asked if she wanted settlement conference.. she did not what to say.. and judge assigned settlement conference and trial date. .. I still do not understand on what basis? Her settlement conference statement claim fraud based on zero or negative value. I did know what zero or nagtive value meant as I am not attorney and hired attorney to prepare the document right way.. Why judge think, it is fraud and asking me go through settlement and trial?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. John Noah Kitta

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . If you received property at zero or negative value you committed no fraud. I don’t exactly know what you are worried about.

    If you have found this information helpful, please let the attorney know by marking best answer. Thank you.... more
  2. Gregory Paul Benton

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . It probably isn't fraud but you need to request a writ of execution to get these things done.

  3. John Henry Perrott

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . Some written appraisal reports showing what those 5 properties were worth at the time she agreed to transfer them to you would surely be helpful. If the properties were in fact worth zero or negative at the time of transfer, but then went up later, she should have no case. but if you got the properties at a zero value when they were worth much more she could win. I suggest that you get those appraisals done.

    If you had no bad intent, but just got "lucky" by getting the properties for less than they were actually worth she might argue you perpetrated a Constructive Fraud on her and could possibly get a recovery from you. There are fiduciary duties under Family Code 721(b) that preclude you from taking any unfair advantage of her. Also look at Civil Code 1573:

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?s...

    http://law.onecle.com/california/civil/1573.html

    If the appraisals show that the 5 properties were worth at or very near the zero & negative values used, then you should consider asking the Court to make her pay your legal fees for wasting everyone's time.

    As stated above -- I have NOT actually stated any legal opinion, because I need to know more before I can start to... more
  4. David Raymond Mahood

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . Usually, there is some trustworthy method used to ascertain the value of real estate when dividing up property in a divorce. The best way is the most expensive way, a paid appraisal. Did you do appraisals for each property? Or did you have a real estate broker Comparative Market Analysis to give you and your ex a good idea as to the values of the properties?

    Fraud occurs when a person lies about what is going on, and induces the other person to rely upon the lie to the harm of the other person. If you acted in good faith without resorting to any lies or misrepresentations, then you are probably safe. I say, "Probably" because I do not know all the facts. If you would like further help, feel free to give me a call. By the way, I graduated from Dublin High School and lived in your area from 1973 to 1977, and then lived in Northern CA until 2010, when I came here to MD. Your area was a great place to live. I am licensed in both California and Maryland. If you would like assistance, most of my work is done long distance anyway, whether my clients are in CA or MD.

    Office: (410) 381-1656. This is NOT legal advice, is GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and does NOT establish an Attorney/... more
  5. Lee Alan Thompson

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Seems like it's time to get an attorney and stop going through the cousin.

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