What do you need to know about “community property”?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2023 | Divorce |

If you are beginning to consider a divorce in California, you may not realize that our state follows a property division rule that is in the minority in the United States—a rule known as “community property.” So, what do you need to know about “community property” when you are facing a divorce?

Community property basics

Well, for starters, “community property” refers to all of the assets that a married couple has accumulated during a marriage, no matter the duration of the marriage. In short, if something was purchased during the term of the marriage, the asset belongs equally to both spouses. And; therefore, that asset is subject to a “50/50” split during the property division part of a divorce case.

Most other states do not handle property division in this manner. It is more common for states to follow the “equitable distribution” rule, which analyzes assets and debts to arrive at an allegedly “fair” distribution of those assets and debts—which may not always be a 50/50 split. California residents who are contemplating divorce must be aware of this difference in state law.

So, when it comes to property division in your divorce case in California, can you simply expect to receive a better share of marital assets than you might in another state? Not necessarily. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are negotiating directly to attempt to reach a divorce agreement, you’ll need to be sure your rights are protected.

While a family law court would still need to approve any agreement, courts may be less interested in closely scrutinizing an agreement between the parties, believing that whatever was agreed to must be acceptable to both parties. You’ll want to have a strong advocate voicing your side in any divorce negotiations or mediation that occurs in your case.