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Community property and asset division in a California divorce

| Aug 20, 2020 | Divorce |

Through the property division portion of your divorce, you and your soon-to-be ex might begin with listing out all your assets and gathering relevant documents. This process is necessary to finalize your divorce. However, it might stir up questions or concerns about what assets you will keep.

California is one of a handful of community property states in the country. This means that divorce courts will try and create a division of community or marital property that is close to a 50/50 split. Most other states handle property division differently and follow an equitable distribution system. Through equitable distribution, a judge will split marital assets in a way they see is fair. They often use factors like a couple’s standard of living during their marriage and the earning potential of each spouse to divide property.

Community and separate property

Community property or assets you’ve acquired through your marriage, like shared homes and vehicles and joint bank accounts and investments, might not be the only assets you have. It’s possible you have separate property, which isn’t subject to division, too. Separate property includes gifts or inheritances you’ve individually received during your marriage. It also includes property you had before your marriage. For example, if you’ve owned your own business before your marriage and still have it to this day, then it’s possible that your business will remain yours after your settlement.

Commingling assets

Now let’s say money from an account you shared with your spouse went into your business. It’s important to be mindful of what happens when you commingle funds like this. Essentially, when you mix separate property with community property, it becomes community property. The California Courts website encourages divorcing couples to identify the source of the money contributed to purchasing property or investing in assets to determine what category it falls under.

Perhaps you don’t have a business, but you hope to keep some of the furniture from your family home or have enough money to take care of your children post-divorce. In any case, an experienced divorce attorney can help lessen worries you have about property division.