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Understanding community property and your divorce

During a divorce, one of the things you have to talk about is how you plan to divide your property. Normally, people in California follow a 50-50 rule thanks to the state being a community property state. What that means is that any marital property is shared equally among the parties, not divided equitably.

Here's an example. If you and your husband are planning to divorce and own two houses, a boat and two cars all purchased in both your names and during your marriage, then you would want to either split the property as close to equally as possible or sell all the property and divide the profits equally.

Is it better to do an equitable distribution of assets?

It depends on the situation. Equitable divisions might allow, in the situation above, for each person to leave the marriage with a house and car while selling the boat, for example. The properties might not be worth the same amount, but they'd essentially be split evenly. This can work if one person is fond of a property or particular vehicle and the other is fine with them having that property in exchange for something else.

The only way to know the best options for your situation is to sit down with your attorney, your property assessments and a list of all assets. You have to look at the property division process as a business arrangement. Once you do so, you'll likely be able to see how to split everything fairly, so that you and your ex-spouse can walk away happy.

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