Going through a divorce can be a confusing process – especially when it comes to the different types of properties involved in the proceeding and how they get divided. Most married couples have separate property, community property and property that has become a mix of both. This article provides some understanding of how California courts look at the different types of property and how the courts address dividing property and debt during divorce proceedings.
Community property is generally defined as any asset that is acquired by either spouse once they are married and not specifically established as separate property of either spouse. Community property belongs to both spouses equally, regardless of which spouse actually earned it. Community property includes:
- Property acquired during marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by both spouses
- Any enhancement in value and appreciation of property that is considered a non-marital asset from the efforts of either spouse during the marriage
- Gifts given between spouses during marriage
- All funds accrued during marriage, such as retirement, pension, annuity and deferred compensation
- All real estate held by either spouse as tenants
Separate property belongs to only one spouse during marriage. Separate property includes:
- Debts held by either spouse prior to marriage
- Student loans
- Property that was acquired prior to marriage or was given to one spouse during the marriage by gift or inheritance
- Income derived from non-marital asset during marriage, unless the income was treated, used or relied upon by the parties as a marital asset
- Debts and property referenced by a valid written agreement of the parties to be excluded from the marital assets
Once community property is mixed with separate property, it can create a situation that is difficult to unravel. In order to sort out separate property from community property, you need to trace it. This means that you must be able to clearly show where certain money came from and how it was spent. When comingling happens, dividing property and debt during the dissolution of a marriage can become complicated, requiring the expert evaluation and assistance of a Stockton divorce attorney.
Call an Experienced San Joaquin County Divorce Attorney Now!
If you are involved in a divorce proceeding or contemplating divorce or separation, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced divorce attorney to help you learn your legal rights and options with respect to your divorce proceeding.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Stockton divorce attorney Gurjit Srai, please call (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.