Nine states, including California, follow community property law when it comes to dividing up property in a divorce. In other words, all marital property will be divided equitably between the spouses Many divorcing couples in California think that their divorce will be easy, because they assume that dividing property equitably means that everything is evenly split between the two exes. However, this is not always the case. The division of assets in community property states comes with its own set of challenges.
First, it can be difficult to determine which property is in fact marital property. Marital property is defined as any property purchased with marital funds or during the course of the marriage, while separate property is property solely meant for one spouse. For example, the family home, joint bank accounts, and vehicles purchased during the marriage are generally considered examples of marital property, while inheritances and gifts to one spouse are considered separate property. A lot of property fits neatly into one category or the other, but it can be difficult to determine how to categorize property that was purchased with commingled funds, or both separate and marital funds.
Another issue is that dividing up everything 50/50 is not always a realistic option. For instance, if you do not have children, you may find that selling the family home and splitting the proceeds evenly between you and your ex may be the best way to ensure that both of you get a fair deal. However, if you do have children, and your ex is the primary custody, you may decide to allow your spouse to put the home in his or her name instead of selling it. This will allow your kids to maintain some stability during this tumultuous time in their lives. Parents are allowed to come to agreements outside of the courtroom, and present them to the judge so that he or she can make a final decision.
Determining who gets what in a divorce can be challenging, even if you are in a community property state like California. A family law attorney in your area can help make sure you get the things that mean the most to you while protecting your financial future.