How Are My Assets Divided in a Divorce?
The divorce process can be tough, and one of the most difficult aspects is often the division of assets. If you file for an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse may decide how to divide your assets without court interference, but most couples file for a contested divorce. With a contested divorce, both parties will present their case before a judge, who will ultimately decide how all aspects of the divorce are handled, including asset division. Between gathering all of your financial information and requesting certain assets, this process can be overwhelming. However, with a more thorough understanding of how the divorce court operates, you can go into your divorce with open eyes and clear expectations.
If you are handling your divorce in court, find out what factors California courts consider in order to determine a fair division of assets in a divorce.
Community vs. Separate Property
All property in a California divorce is considered either community property or separate property. Community property is any asset acquired by both spouses during the marriage, using their shared funds. Usually, most of the assets owned by a married couple are considered community property. Other possessions owned by just one spouse or the other will be considered separate property. Some examples of separate property may include heirlooms, inheritances, or properties owned prior to the marriage.
California Property Division Laws
California is an equitable distribution state, which means that all property shared during the marriage is divided between each party in an equitable manner. Equitable here means fair and just, but not necessarily equal. If, for example, one spouse contributed to the marriage more than the other, the court may provide that spouse with more assets. However, marital contributions are not always weighed in the monetary sense. For example, if one spouse did not work but stayed home to take care of the home and raise their children, the court will consider this a contribution to the marriage.
Also, if the couple had a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, this document could be used to determine how certain properties and assets are divided.
Contact Singleton Smith Law Offices, Inc. to discuss your case with our Murrieta family law attorneys.