If you’ve decided that it’s time to undergo a divorce in the state of California, you likely have a lot of questions. One of the most confusing parts of a divorce for most people is dealing with the separation of marital property. We’re going to take a few moments and go over the various types of property and share with you how it is distributed during the process of a divorce.
What is considered property?
Property is considered anything that has value and can be bought or sold. A few examples include furniture, houses, bank accounts and stocks. Dividing this property up fairly depends on the divorce & family law in California. Property can be separate, community or even considered mixed.
California is considered a community property state. This means that once a couple is married or registers their domestic partnership, all property and debts they acquire are considered community property. It’s also important to note that each spouse’s earnings are considered community property, not given just to one person. So, let’s say that you purchase a car with the money that you’ve been saving from your paycheck. Since the money that was used to buy the car came out of your paycheck, it’s considered community property. All community property must be split 50/50.
Separate property is considered property that a person had before they got married or registered their domestic partnership. Separate property can include things like rental properties, inheritances and even gifts. Let’s say you’re making money on a rental property that you own prior to getting married. Those earnings are considered separate since they’re coming from your separate property.
Mixed property, also referred to as commingled property, is one area that people get confused about. This is defined as property that was once separate but now is communal. For example, let’s say that you own a house before you got married. After you got married, you decided to sell that house and use the proceeds to put a down payment on a new house. The down payment money would be considered separate property since its proceeds are from another piece of separate property that you owned. However, the house would be considered community property since you bought it while you were married.
Going through a divorce is stressful enough without worrying about the different types of property that you have and who’s going to end up with it. Each state has its own rules regarding how to divide property in a divorce. So is it a good idea to consolidate a lawyer to help you figure out what you’re entitled to from your marriage.