Community Property Division in California
When you’re going through a divorce, property division can become a hot topic. Under California division of property laws, the courts will presume that almost all property and debt acquired during a marriage is community property. Both spouses own a fifty percent interest in community property and debt and will, in most instances, receive an equal share of both marital assets and debts upon divorce.
Helping My Clients Protect Their Interests
At the Law Offices of William M. Strachan, we represent people in a divorce involving a complex division of marital property. Before finalizing a divorce, courts must obtain a fair appraisal of community property and debt.
How a court appraises marital property can have an enormous impact on its value. Market fluctuations can have a significant effect on the value of a business, home, and investment. We will hire experienced and locally known accountants and forensic experts to appraise your property.
At the Law Offices of William M. Strachan, we will fight to reach the resolution of a division of property dispute for our clients and help them protect their interests.
Community vs. Separate Property
One of the ways we help our clients in divorce cases is to explain the difference between community and separate property.
California is a community property state. This means:
- Any property or debt acquired during the marriage is seen as community property.
- California Family Code section 760 defines community property as “all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in the state.”
- At the end of a divorce, community property is generally split 50/50.
Separate property is classified as:
- Property that one party owned before the marriage
- Gifts or inheritance specifically given to one spouse
- Property bought or earned after the separation
The date of separation is important in many cases because it can determine whether a piece of property is classified as community or separate property.
Dividing Your Assets and Property
The court will divide the property characterized as community property and debt between spouses equally unless the parties have agreed to a different division. Property classified as separate property will be confirmed to the spouse who owns the asset.
There are instances where a piece of property will have aspects of both community property and separate property. For the spouse alleging that an asset is either separate property or has a separate property interest, he or she bears the burden of tracing the separate property source to the community property acquisition or improvement.
In circumstances where the parties have more debt than assets, the court could divide the debt unequally if the circumstances warrant it. Given the stakes, it is important to know how to convince a court that property is either community or separate property.
Do You Have Questions About Property Division?
If you are going through a divorce and have questions about property division, the Law Offices of William Strachan is here for you. Contact us for a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney. We represent clients throughout California, including Orange County, Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Los Angeles,