Divorce is a challenging process, and one of the most complex aspects is dividing assets.
In California, the rules governing this division are clear-cut, but understanding them is important for a fair settlement.
Community property basics
California follows the community property principle, meaning that assets acquired during the marriage belong equally to both spouses. This includes income, real estate and other valuables obtained from the start to the end of the marriage.
To facilitate division, it is important to categorize assets into community and separate property. Community property includes assets acquired during the marriage, while separate property pertains to items owned individually before the union or acquired through gifts or inheritance during the marriage.
The family home
Determining what happens to the family home is a significant aspect of asset division. If acquired during the marriage, it is community property. Options for handling the home include selling it and dividing the proceeds or having one spouse buy out the other’s share. Selling the home requires considering that housing market sales dipped 3.9% in the Bay area from October 2022 to 2023, which may prolong the process.
Financial assets and debts
Bank accounts, investments and debts accumulated during the marriage fall under community property. Fairly dividing financial resources involves careful evaluation and open communication. Consideration of both parties’ financial contributions is necessary to achieving a just outcome.
Asset division adds a layer of complexity to any divorce. By approaching this process with clarity and open communication, couples can work toward a fair distribution of assets, paving the way for a smoother transition into separate lives.