Community property states, like California, make property division in divorce slightly easier by requiring an equal split of marital assets. That has its benefits, but it can also be difficult for couples who have not equally contributed to a marriage. There could be animosity or frustration with the idea of a party who did less for the marriage getting the same payout as someone who contributed more.
Before you divide your property, you’ll need to look at which pieces of property are considered marital or separate. If there are assets you don’t want your spouse to have, the best thing you can do is find a way to prove that it’s separate property. For example, some pieces of separate property include:
- Inheritances held separately during the marriage
- Gifts received from your spouse
- Property you acquire after your marriage is dissolved
- Personal injury proceeds from court cases or settlements
- Bank accounts that have been kept separate
There is also a chance that some assets could be partial community property. For example, if you have a home that was purchased before you got married but then used that home as your marital home, it may be marital property now but only in part.
Though California is a 50-50 state, a judge does have some discretion. Courts look at factors like your age, health, anticipated inheritances and gifts that were made to you and your spouse to decide if a 50-50 split is right for your situation.
Our site has more on what to expect if you’re involved in a community property dispute and have to work out a settlement.