We have mentioned in previous blog posts that custody issues are often the most contentiously contested issues in a divorce proceeding. Not far behind on the acrimony scale are issues involving the division of property. You have probably heard that California is a community property state, yet you may not understand exactly what that means or how that affects you. While community property becomes increasingly important for those involved in divorce proceedings, the law of community property affects all citizens of the state and a general knowledge of what it is and how it impacts your life can help you make effective planning decisions.
The law of community property generally means that all assets acquired by a married couple during the marriage are owned equally by the husband and wife regardless of how it’s titled (unless it’s acquired by gift or inheritance), and all debts are incurred equally. Assets that were owned by either of the spouses prior to the marriage or those that were acquired during the marriage through gift or inheritance are deemed separate property. There are 11 community property states, most of them in the western half of the U.S.
Community property states are contrasted with “separate property” states where spouses can show their proportionate ownership of property by tracing where contributions came from and any property that is titled in one spouse’s individual name is presumed to be that spouse’s own separate property.
Issues regarding the division of property during a divorce proceeding can be very complex in California. If you are currently going through a divorce, please contact the Wilson Law Firm, A Professional Corporation today for an initial consultation.