Dividing Real Property in California Divorce

California is a community property state, which means that all property is equally owned in a marriage. No matter which spouse earned the income that purchased the property, or which spouse owns the title, the property belongs to both spouses. Both spouses are thought to equally contribute to a California marriage, mandating that the court divide that property accordingly. Since property is divided equally, property value plays an immense role in how the court divides property at the end.

How is my home and other real estate divided?

What happens when the property divided is real property? Real estate is not exempt from being considered community and must be divided according to the law. But no one is suggesting taking a saw to the home and dividing it in half.

How real property is divided in a divorce case is by:

  • Obtaining an appraisal from a real-estate appraiser to determine the current value of the home.
  • Determine half of the equity and the remaining mortgage to show what share each spouse holds.
  • Speaking with a spouse and deciding whether the home is going to be kept or sold.
  • Putting the home on sale, pay off the mortgage from the proceeds of the sale, and divide the rest evenly between the spouses; or
  • Using the equity and mortgage amounts to determine the property imbalance when one spouse keeps the property and use other assets and debts in order to balance the difference.

Remember that not all property in a marriage is considered community property. There are some exceptions to this tile. For example, if property is received as a gift or an inheritance of one spouse, then it is usually not considered marital assets and will not be divided as community property.

Any case that involves property division is a complicated legal process. Consider retaining the services of a qualified attorney at Cutter & Lax. With over 30 years of experience, you can be sure that our attorneys are looking out for your family's best interests.