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1 Aug. 2016

Understanding Separate and Community Property in California

Posted By The Buncher Law Corporation

When married couples decide to file for divorce, there are often numerous issues, including child support, child custody, spousal support and more. One of the most important matters that must be dealt with in a timely manner, which can be hotly contested during divorce, involves property division. Oftentimes, couples who are not able to reach a resolution are forced to litigate the issues in court.

Because property division can be highly complex, many couples are left with various questions. California is considered a community property state. Community property assets that are obtained or any income that is earned by a married person during the marriage. Separate property assets are those obtained by a spouse before marriage or during the marriage, inheritance, or post-separation. According to California law, community estate is to be divided equally if no specific, written agreement exists.

Understanding How Community Property is Divided

In California, there is no requirement for an “in kind” division of community property. This means that physical objects do not need to be physically divided. Rather, the law requires that the net value of assets that each spouse receives is equal unless the parties decide otherwise. As a result, it is common for one spouse to be awarded the family residence while the other receives investment real estate or business to offset value. Ultimately, spouses are required to receive assets that are equivalent in value.

Common Difficulties Divorcing Couples Face

Sometimes, it isn’t difficult to determine whether a specific asset is separate or community property. However, various assets can become highly complex, especially those such as businesses that were owned by one spouse prior to marriage, or property that belonged to one spouse before the marriage but was shared during the marriage.

In addition, complexities can arise when property becomes intermingled. This can happen with matters such as inheritances. In most cases, inheritances are considered separate properties. However, when a person uses an inheritance as a payment for a home which the couple shares, the lines which separate community and separate property can become blurred. In these cases, it is wise for couples to contact experienced legal counsel. A seasoned lawyer can work diligently to ensure each party’s rights and belongings are protected.

Contemplating Divorce? Call The Buncher Law Corporation

If you are moving through divorce or considering filing for divorce, we encourage you to get in touch with our Orange County divorce lawyers at The Buncher Law Corporation right away. When you work with our team, you will work alongside highly skilled family law attorneys who have the skills to streamline your case! Because we understand that these types of cases can be highly complex and stress inducing, we work diligently to handle each case with sensitivity to meet you specific needs and goals.

To discuss your case, call an Orange County divorce attorney from our firm right away.

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