How is property divided during a divorce?
Throughout people’s lives in California they acquire various property. They may purchase homes and other property, vehicles and other large purchases. They also have bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts and other types of financial accounts. People also buy various items for their homes such as furniture, electronics and other household goods. They also acquire these various assets at different stages of their lives.
Generally, it does not matter when people purchased the property or grew their various financial accounts. However, there is one time when it becomes very important and that is when couples get a divorce. During the divorce process couples are dividing the life that they shared together into two separate lives. This can be a complicated process and one of the major parts of the divorce is dividing the couple’s marital assets.
Community property v. separate property
There are generally two types of property that couples can own for divorce purposes. California is community property state which means that any property that the couple acquired during the marriage is shared equally by both spouses and therefore is divided equally during a divorce. It does not matter if the property was titled in only one spouse’s name or whether it is a bank account in only one spouse’s name. If it was acquired by either spouse during the marriage it is community property.
The other type of property is called separate property. This is property acquired or owned by either spouse prior to the marriage. It also includes inheritances and gifts given to only one spouse during the marriage as well. Separate property stays with the spouse even after the divorce.
There are many different aspects of their lives that couples in California must split when getting a divorce. One of these is dividing their property. This can be a complicated process involving not only determining whether property is community or separate, but also determining the values of the different types of property. Experienced attorneys understand property division and may be able to guide one through the process.