How do separating couples divide property in California?

By |2022-04-04T18:51:46+00:0030 May 2019|Categories: Family Law|


California is known as a community property state. For separating couples, this means that any property the couple acquired during their marriage must be split 50-50. In addition, any debts the couple acquired must split equally.

There are a number of things that are considered property. Examples include:

  • House
  • Car
  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Stocks
  • Bank accounts
  • Pensions
  • Life insurance
  • Businesses
  • Patents

There are some exceptions to community property. For examples, if you receive an inheritance during your marriage, but the money was kept separate from the marital bank account or was not used to purchase something together, such as a house, then that property is considered separate property. If you purchased a car that was yours alone from the inheritance, then that car is considered separate property.

In some cases, you may have commingled property. This is property that is both community property and separate property and has been mixed together. A good example of this is a spouse’s pension. Perhaps your spouse had a pension he or she was paying into before and after your marriage. The amount he paid in before your marriage is separate property. The amount after your marriage and until your divorce is community property. There are specific ways that pensions and retirement accounts must be split in order for you to get your fair share. Don’t assume and agree to just any amount.

As you can see, dividing property in a divorce or separation can be very complicated. It is best to seek out experienced legal advice. If not, you could agree to a divorce settlement that is not in your best interests.

About the Author:

Dorie Anne Rogers - The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
Dorie A. Rogers, a Family Law Specialist, Certified by the State Bar of California, has been an attorney since 1981 with an exclusive family law practice located in Orange County. She is accepting dissolution cases with support and property issues including the use of forensics to ascertain business value, community interests and to establish monthly case flow analysis. Ms. Rogers has substantial experience in high conflict custody litigation involving sophisticated psychological issues. She drafts premarital and postmarital agreement designed to define and establish parties' separate and community property interests. Paternity cases and domestic violence matters are considered part of her practice. Ms. Rogers is a court-approved and court-appointed to represent minor children.Ms. Rogers consults with individuals concerned about entering or exiting a relationship. She advises effective strategies for dissolution or premarital planning. Knowledge is power and good planning affords better results.Specialties: Family Law Specialist, Certified by the State Bar of California
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