What women need to know about property division in a divorce

Some of the main issues that have to be settled in most divorces are the following: child custody, child support and property division. In contested divorce cases, child custody and child support are usually decided by the courts by utilizing the best interest of the child standard. Obviously, property division is not handled in the same manner. The courts make determinations with respect to the division of property based on the financial information that is provided to them. All of the financial assets of the parties have to be put on full display and a complete accounting has to be made prior to the court dividing property between the parties.

In a divorce, women sometimes get a worse result when it comes to property division because of the lack of understanding of the processes involved. That is not to say the men are any better versed in divorce proceedings, but oftentimes women seemingly get the short end of the stick. In order to combat this, women have to arm themselves with knowledge, especially when it comes to property division. There are two types of property in a divorce, marital property and separate property. Marital property is the property and assets that were acquired during the marriage, and separate property is generally property that each party had prior to the marriage. Separate property is not subject to state-based statutes regarding property division. Inheritances generally fall into the separate property category.

Different states have different laws requiring property division. Some states have what is called "equitable division" of property, and others have "community property." In California, community property is the guiding principle that is applied. The parties to the divorce are considered equal with respect to all marital property. As such, the property will be divided accordingly.