If you’re in the midst of a divorce, you know that the division of property is one of the more contentious issues between separating couples. A lot is accumulated during a marriage, which means there is a lot to be divided. This can be a very emotional and complicated undertaking.
California is a “community property” state which means the property will be divided between the spouses 50/50. When the division of property is done, you’ll end up with an approximately equal share of the assets. As a first step, it’s a good idea to complete an inventory of your property and assets to figure out what you have and assign it a monetary value.
What is considered in the property division process?
Anything the couple owns together is considered “community property” or “marital property” and will be divided. In California, it is assumed that most property is marital property and therefore subject to the division decision. Community property will include the obvious items like the house and cars, but anything else with value like retirement accounts, bank accounts, investments and artwork may also be subject to property division. Debt is also equally divided.
“Separate property” is excluded property. Separate property is anything acquired outside of the marriage (prior to the marriage or after the date of legal separation), gifts or legacies to one spouse or anything else specifically mentioned in a prior written agreement.
You can decide on the property division yourself, but your choices will need to be fair. For it to be legal, a judge needs to sign off on your decision. If you aren’t able to agree, you can ask a court to make your decisions for you.