When Grant and Amy divorce, Grant assumed their community property would be a straight 50-50 split. He was unpleasantly surprised to learn that this did not apply in his divorce. Property division in a California divorce can get extremely complicated. It’s critical to hire an experienced divorce attorney and to have a basic understanding of how property division works.
California, a Community Property State
Some states, like California, consider property in a divorce to be:
- community property,
- separate property, or
- quasi-community property.
Most of the property and debts that a couple accumulates during their marriage is considered community property. During the divorce proceeding, community property usually is split between the parties.
However, it is not always easy to determine which category applies. Property might be separate property (owned by one party) going into the marriage, but then community funds are used to maintain it. This can muddy the waters if a couple decides to divorce.
Factors That Affect the 50-50 Split
When splitting property, couples can agree to divide everything in a roughly 50-50 split. Rather than selling property and physically dividing bank accounts, the parties might add up the value and then come up with an agreement that works.
In fact, sometimes spouses will agree to an agreement that is not an even split. Courts generally review agreements before signing a final order ending the marriage.
Adultery, by itself, generally does not affect property division. However, the situation can change if one spouse use community funds to support a new relationship. If proven, the judge might award the innocent spouse more than half of the marital assets as compensation for the cheating spouse’s misuse of marital funds.
Finally, sometimes what appears to be a 50-50 split to the naked eye turns out to be something entirely different. For example, appraisals of real property or collectibles could be wrong or have other issues. Title issues on real property could make it difficult or impossible to sell, leaving you with a piece of worthless real estate. That’s why it is so critical to consult with an attorney who has a deep understanding of property division.
Call to Learn More About Property Division in a California Divorce
Had Grant understood more about property division, perhaps his outcome would have been different. As with all divorce issues, it’s best to talk to a qualified California divorce attorney before getting started.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We maintain offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.