No one wants to come out of a divorce feeling as if they lost everything that was important to them. With the right approach and careful attention to detail, this does not have to be your situation. Here are a few things to keep in mind when approaching property division.
California is what is known as a community property state. Under these laws, anything that you acquire during the course of your marriage is considered community property. Unlike separate property, which is yours and yours alone, community property has to be equally divided during your divorce. This does not just apply to the big things either, like cars and homes. Here are few examples of community property you might have:
- Home furnishings, artwork and electronics
- Business assets and interests
- Retirement accounts, including 401(k)s and IRAs
- Stocks, mutual funds and other investments
- Children's college savings accounts
- Insurance policies
There are certain exceptions within the realm of community property. If you received an inheritance or a gift, then these assets can remain your separate personal property and will not be included in division proceedings. Of course, there is also an exception to this exception. If you deposit your inheritance into a joint bank account and use it for marital expenses or use a gift in a manner that benefits both of you, it can become community property by association.
Although it might seem straightforward enough, determining which property is separate and which is community can actually be quite complicated. For instance, how do you handle something that was purchased before a marriage, but then paid off with community assets? For help with these types of tough property division topics and other California family law issues, be sure to visit our website.