Married couples may not always think about how their property is titled until the time comes to divorce. Then, questions inevitably arise about who owns what. This is a critical question because each person will want to ensure he or she is able to live comfortably after the proceedings have concluded.
Property division is one of the core functions of divorce proceedings. It is important to learn about how the law will affect your property, debt, and income so that you can meet your needs, and those of your children, after your divorce is final.
California is a community property state. To read more about the basics of property division in California, please see our earlier blog here.
California law has many provisions designed to protect spousal property rights. Two of the most important are (1) the presumption of community property during marriage and (2) requirements for spousal consent for certain ownership and transfer rights of property.
First, there is a presumption in California that property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is community property subject to equitable division in the event of a divorce. This is a powerful presumption. It acts to bring an asset into the marital estate even when one spouse attempts to title it in his or her name alone.
Second, California law often requires the consent of one spouse for the other spouse to own property in certain ways or to transfer certain property interests. California offers many different ways that people can own property, each with different requirements for ownership or transfer of rights. However, married couples are limited in how they may own property acquired during their marriage. For example, a husband may buy a house as his sole and separate property, but only if the wife consents for him to do so. This consent often takes the form of a quitclaim deed.
If you want to learn more about property ownership in California and how state law affects your marital assets, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger can help. Call us today to make an appointment: (415) 293-8314.