When you file for a divorce in California, a big part of the process is dividing property and debts. Property refers to anything you can sell or buy or something that has value.
For some couples, determining what community property is (owned by both spouses and part of the division process) versus separate property (owned by one spouse and not part of the division process) is challenging.
Is It Community Property?
Usually, community property will be anything you or your spouse earned (or debts you acquired) while you were married and before you separated. In this aspect, the “community” is you and your spouse. It also means the property belongs to both of you equally.
Items that will be considered community property include:
- Anything you earned while you were married
- Debt you acquired during the marriage
- Anything you purchased with the money you earned during your marriage
If you have property you didn’t earn (such as inheritances or gifts), it is not considered community property.
Did You Account For All The Community Property In Your Marriage?
Many couples don’t realize that they may have more community property than they realize. For example, pension and retirement plans are considered community property. If your spouse has these accounts, you have a right to receive a portion of the value if any of it was acquired while you were married.
Protecting Your Rights To Fair Property Division
There’s no doubt that a California divorce can be messy and confusing. While this is true, legal resources are available to help ensure you get the community property value you are entitled to. Utilizing these resources is highly recommended to ensure a fair divorce settlement.