If you’re getting a divorce for the first time, surely you have questions about how property is divided in a California divorce. Often, divorcing spouses ask, “Is California a 50/50 state?” As a community property state, the short answer would be “yes,” but there’s more to it than that. Read on as we explain property division in a California divorce in more detail.
In the United States, there are two methods for dividing marital property in a divorce: equitable distribution and community property. As we mentioned, California is one of nine states that follows the community property model.
Understanding Community Property Laws
“Broadly speaking, a divorce court in a community property state will split all other assets 50/50 unless both parties agree on another arrangement. In many cases, this requires that any joint property be sold so that the former partners can split the proceeds. In the case of the death of a spouse, community property states assume that the surviving spouse owns any joint property,” according to Investopedia.
Here’s what you need to know:
- All income and assets acquired during the marriage are “community property” regardless of who earned it or which spouse’s name is on the title.
- Separate property is not divided. Separate property includes assets acquired before the marriage and gifts and inheritances received by one spouse during the marriage, assuming they are not comingled with marital assets.
- Income and assets acquired after the divorce action are filed may not be divided as community property.
California is a community property state, however, the existence of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can ensure that certain property remains separate in the event of a divorce, despite California’s community property laws. Also, couples have every right to deviate from a 50/50 split if they agree on it and it doesn’t leave one spouse penniless.
Related: Reasons a Prenuptial Agreement May Be Invalid
For divorce representation, contact Burch Shepard Family Law Group at (949) 565-4158.