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Divorce in California: who gets what?

On Behalf of | Jul 17, 2023 | DIVORCE - High-Asset Divorce

The divorce process breaks down parts of the marriage to assess how the court can properly execute its dissolution. This involves delving into the properties, determining separate from marital assets and dividing the properties accordingly. Property division rules are different for every state and knowing what applies to your case can help you protect what is rightfully yours.

Equal share for each spouse

By default, California follows the community property rules for asset division. Under these rules, properties the spouses acquire during the marriage, also known as marital assets, belong to each of them equally. Following this reasoning, courts shall divide marital properties equally among the parties during a divorce.

Note, however, that equal division does not mean each party gets exactly half of each property. This will be quite difficult, especially if the divorce involves business interests and intangible items like stocks and bonds. Instead, there will be a valuation of all marital properties and each spouse will get an equal share of the total value of all assets.

Will it always be equal?

While California courts generally follow the community property division of assets, they do not prevent parties from dividing properties by agreement, even if the division is unequal. Some couples have a prenuptial agreement outlining which asset and debt belongs to each party. As long as the prenup is valid, the courts will uphold its terms.

Divorce parties can also agree on property division through a private settlement. Many parties opt for alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and negotiation, because of their cost-efficiency and time-saving benefits. Once the court reviews the agreement and finds that it is fair and protects both parties’ rights, it will execute the terms to divide the marital assets.

It is easy to get lost in the maze that is property division. Especially if multiple properties are involved, parties may find it difficult to navigate through the process. Making use of available resources and consulting with a legal professional can help divorce parties ensure the protection of their rights.