For divorcing couples, it is helpful to take a look at how property division is conducted during a California divorce. California is a community property division state which helps determine how property will be divided if the couple decides to divorce or domestic partners decide to end their domestic partnership.
Property division during divorce in California
According to community property laws, each of the spouses or the partners owns one-half of the community property. Each of the spouses or partners is also responsible for one half of the community debts. Community property and community debts are divided in half or equally.
Community property is generally all the property the spouses or domestic partners acquired during their marriage or the domestic partnerships. It includes all the property they own together and everything they bought during their marriage or domestic partnership. It typically excludes gifts or inheritances. It includes earnings of both spouses or domestic partners earned during the marriage or domestic partnership.
When classifying property, it is usually helpful to look at how it was purchased and what funds were used to purchase it. Examples of property can include physical property and items of value such as:
- Bank accounts and cash;
- Security deposits on apartments;
- Pension plans;
- 401(k) plans;
- Stocks and investments;
- Life insurance policies with a cash value;
- Businesses; and
Community property rules are used to help resolve property disputes during divorce or when a domestic partnership is coming to an end. That makes it helpful to understand these rules when sorting through property division.