Divorce can be one of the most stressful, expensive, and emotional processes of a lifetime, and this is particularly true when the couple has significant property to divide. Fortunately, with the help of a skilled property division attorney, divorce doesn’t have to be a nightmare. In California, there are specific laws governing the division of marital property; if you and your spouse cannot agree on a fair division of assets and debts, these laws can help you decide.
At The Sands Law Group APLC, our experienced, knowledgeable Los Angeles property division lawyers will guide you through this difficult process in the most economical, and least painful, way possible. We provide exceptional legal services, affordable fees, and a multi-lingual staff who can communicate with clients in five languages: Hebrew, French, Arabic, Spanish, and English. Contact The Sands Law Group APLC today for a confidential consultation about your case.
Community Property Laws in California
Generally speaking, anything that can be purchased or sold, or that has value, is considered to be property. This includes real estate, vehicles, bank accounts and cash, retirement plans, stocks, and insurance with cash value.
When a married couple decides to dissolve their marriage, they may hold jointly owned property, such as the family home, a bank account, or even a business. Sometimes the couple can agree on how to divide these assets, but more often than not they need help determining how to do so fairly and equitably.
When there is a question about how assets should be divided, California’s community property laws will provide the solution. Community property is any property that was accumulated during the marriage.
Even if a divorcing couple is in agreement about how to divide assets, the court will need to sign off on this agreement. When they cannot agree, the judge will decide for them. Until community property and debts are divided by an official court order, these assets and liabilities belong to both parties, regardless of any informal agreement made by and between the spouses.
What Is Considered Marital Property in California?
California is a community property state, which means that any property acquired during the marriage is considered to be community, or marital, property, and it will be divided equally in a divorce. The same rule applies to jointly owned debt. Anything you owned prior to the marriage, on the other hand, is separate property. As such, you should retain full ownership of that property upon the dissolution of your marriage.
Property includes anything that can be bought or sold, or has value, like:
- A house,
- Bank accounts and cash,
- Security deposits on apartments,
- Pension plans,
- 401(k) plans
“Negative” property is also considered during divorce and can include:
- Personal loans
- Credit card balances
- Equity loans
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Common Law Spouses Entitled to Property in California?
California does not recognize common law marriage, and there is no guarantee of a right to support or property following the dissolution of a non-marital relationship. However, when unmarried couples meet certain criteria, they may have some claim to financial support and property, if they can show a written or implied agreement to substantiate this claim.
Is California a 50/50 Divorce State?
There are only nine community property states in the country, and California is one of them. This means, essentially, that property division in a divorce is accomplished by splitting shared property equally, which typically means 50/50. But the 50/50 split only applies to community property or property that was acquired during the marriage. If you bought a car before you were married, you will likely retain full ownership of that car in a divorce.
Contact Our Knowledgeable Los Angeles Property Division Attorneys Today
If you have questions about the division of property in your divorce, the Los Angeles property division lawyers at The Sands Law Group APLC can help. We have helped countless clients navigate this process in the way that best aligns with their goals and objectives and ensures that their rights and best interests are protected from the beginning. Contact us today for a confidential consultation about your case.