Property Distribution in a California Divorce
An important issue in a California divorce is the distribution of property between spouses. However, there are misconceptions about how property is characterized and divided between a couple during the divorce process. California is one of the few community property states, which could have a significant impact on your overall divorce settlement. To learn more about how property may be distributed in your case, call or contact the Simpson Law Group today to schedule a consultation with one of our leading experts in California divorce law.
The first category of property is called separate property. This is the property that each spouse brought with them into the marriage, or property acquired during the marriage by gift, bequest, devise or descent. This includes inheritance. After a divorce, each spouse retains the separate property they had prior to the date of marriage. Generally, this is not subject to property distribution in a divorce case and applies to both separate assets and separate debts.
The second category of property is known as community, or marital, property. This includes all property acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage and until the date of the parties’ separation. As a community property state, California law dictates that spouses equally divide the value of all community property through the divorce process.
There are exceptions to the rule that all community property must be divided equally. This includes the misuse of assets or acquiring debts. For example, if one spouse attempts to hide or misappropriate marital assets, the division of community property may be unequal in favor of the other spouse. In addition, if one spouse accrues specific types of debt which do not benefit the community, that spouse may be required to assume all of those liabilities in a divorce.
The last category of property is known as commingled property. This is the area of property distribution that is often the most contentious and can have the biggest impact on a property settlement. Commingled property is property which includes both community property and separate property components. A good example is a bank account which includes some community property funds and one spouse’s separate property funds. It can be tricky to untangle and prove which funds, separate or community, paid for which expenses. An experienced California divorce attorney will be able to review the character of your property to identify what
may or may not be subject to community property distribution. The services of a forensic accountant may be required to help determine the character of a commingled account.
Talk to Our Office Today About Your California Divorce
The distribution of property in your California divorce can have one of the most significant impacts on your life after the case is settled. To speak with an experienced divorce attorney about your case, call the office or contact us today in Glendale at the Simpson Law Group to schedule a consultation.