There may be many concerns for parties entering the divorce process. Property division may one concern that is high on the list. Because of this, couples may wonder how property is divided in California. California property division follows community property rules. Nine states in the United States, including California, following community property rules for the division of property in the event of divorce. Alaska follows optional community property rules.
Generally, the community property system recognizes two types of property including community property and separate property. Community property is property acquired during the marriage and is also sometimes referred to as marital property. Separate property is generally property the parties enter the marriage with. Property considered community property is divided evenly upon divorce, however, separate property is generally not subject to division. Similarly, property that is acquired during the marriage through inheritance or as a gift is considered separate property and is not divided between the spouses in the event of divorce.
According to community property rules, each partner in the marriage relationship enjoys a 50 percent interest in community property. The concept of community property is based on the idea that each of the spouses contributes labor to the marital community for the benefit of the marital community and, therefore, enjoys equally in the income and profits the community earns. Though community property division is conducted as evenly as possible, it may not necessarily require an equal 50/50 split. The court will examine factors such as earning capacities, health of the parties and child custody issues, as well as other considerations, when dividing marital property during the divorce process.
When a couple is entering the process of dissolving a marriage through divorce, knowledge of community property rules may be helpful. Understanding what to expect from the property division process may help alleviate some of the anxiety that is possible concerning one of the most important aspects of the divorce process.