Divorce Lawyers Serving San Fernando Valley
Learn how our experience can benefit you.
See what other clients have to say about us.
When it's too important to wait, contact us today.
Family Law Information
Practice Areas
How to Find a Divorce Attorney
Family Law
Divorce
Adoption
Annulment
Child Custody
Child Support
Cohabitation Agreements
Domestic Violence
Enforcement of Orders
Fathers' Rights
Grandparents' Rights
Legal Separation
Mediation
Modifications
Move Away Cases
Paternity
Post-Nuptial Agreements
Pre-Nuptial Agreements
Property Division
Spousal Support
Surrogacy Law
Visitation
En Espanol
Testimonials
Family Law Blog
Family Law & Divorce Videos
Reach us by email to discuss your case.

California is a Community Property State

In the United States, there are two methods for dividing marital property in a divorce: equitable division and community property. While the majority of states use the equitable distribution method, California is one of a handful of states that uses the community property model. What does community property mean? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) explains it best:

“The theory underlying community property is analogous to that of a partnership. Each spouse contributes labor (and in some states, capital) for the benefit of the community, and shares equally in the profits and income earned by the community. Thus, each spouse owns an automatic 50% interest in all community property, regardless of which spouse acquired the community property. Spouses may also hold separate property, which they solely own and control, but the law in the community property states does not favor this.”

Community vs. Separate Property

In a California divorce, only “community property” is subject to division. Separate property is NOT divided. So, what differentiates community property from separate property?

Community property is all assets and cash acquired during the marriage regardless of who earned the money or whose name is on the title. In contrast, separate property includes:

  • Property acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage.
  • Gifts or inheritances received by one spouse during the marriage.

In some cases, if a spouse contributed (work or capital) to the increase value of separate property, then that spouse may have a 50% interest in the increased value of the asset.

Do We Have to Do a 50/50 Split?

No, not necessarily. In a California divorce, couples can enter into their own settlement that deviates from the 50/50 model as long as it’s reasonable and fair. However, if the couple cannot come to terms on a property settlement agreement, a judge will have to step in and he or she would divide the couple’s marital assets (shared property) according to California’s community property laws.

Need a Santa Clarita divorce lawyer? Contact Cutter & Lax to get started.

Related: California’s Community Property Laws

Comments

No Comments Posted

Attorney Web Design