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Understanding property division during divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2021 | Property Division

Divorcing couples in California need to know how property will be divided. It can help guide their property division settlement agreement as they negotiate their divorce and which spouse will receive which property items.

How property is divided

California is a community property state which means that spouses share ownership of marital property jointly. Marital property is divided in half so divorcing couples need to be familiar with what is considered marital property or community property.

Different categories of property

Community, or marital, property includes property and assets acquired by the divorcing couple during their marriage. It also includes debts acquired by the divorcing couple during marriage. Separate property is excluded from the property division process. Separate property commonly refers to property one of the spouses entered the marriage with, inheritances, gifts and personal injury awards. A third category of property is quasi-community property which can be complex. For that reason, it is helpful for divorcing couples to understand all the different categories and types of property that can impact their divorce and property division settlement agreements.

Property is generally considered anything that can be bought or sold. It includes a house, car, furniture and clothing. Property can also refer to bank accounts and cash; pension plans; 401(k) plans; stocks and investments; life insurance that has a cash value; businesses; patents; and security deposits on apartments. Separating a lifetime of property acquired by the couple can be a challenge which is why understanding community property division rules can be a good start for divorcing couples.