California is known as a “community property” state. When you divorce or legally separate from your spouse or domestic partner, the law directs that the marital estate, which consists of virtually all property and debts acquired during the marriage, should be divided equally between the two parties. Parties seeking to hold onto certain assets, or distance themselves from certain debt, must prove that those assets or liabilities are not part of the marital estate. O’Leary & Shenasan Law in Newport Beach, California is well-versed in community property law. Our experienced and knowledgeable team can provide the legal guidance you need in your property settlement or litigation.
Property comprises tangible assets, such as houses, cars, boats, and clothing, as well as intangible assets, such as copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Financial instruments, such as contracts, stocks, and life insurance, are property, as are a couple’s liabilities: mortgages, credit card balances, and car loans. There is a presumption that all property acquired during the marriage, as well as separate property held jointly and used by both spouses, is community property subject to a 50-50 division upon divorce.
However, there are legal exceptions that allow a party to assert that property does not belong in the marital estate and is not subject to division. These exceptions include:
On the other hand, property that is separate when acquired can become community property under California law:
Any mistakes in the designation of assets as separate or community property can be costly, so it is important to obtain knowledgeable legal advice to ensure division is handled fairly for all.
For better or worse, California law makes married couples “one community” for purposes of property division. Our experienced attorneys are determined to protect your property rights and secure your financial future.
Your property settlement is one of the most important factors affecting your financial future. O’Leary & Shenasan Law protects your property rights throughout the divorce process. Call us at 866-238-3623 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.