Divorce does not just mean separating from your spouse, it also means potentially separating from your property. After more than twenty years of marriage, you and your husband have built a substantial portfolio that includes stocks, bonds, retirement accounts and real estate. Now that you are considering divorce, you worry about what will happened to what you consider to be your share of the marital property.
Many people that are on the verge of divorce have concerns about the state of their finances once they lose access to a significant portion of what was once joint property. Fortunately, an experienced divorce attorney in the Redondo Beach area can help you prepare for what to expect when it comes time to finalize your divorce.
Unlike most other states, California adheres to the principals of community property. This typically includes everything that you and your spouse own together. In general, this includes all the money earned during the marriage, any debts the two of you incurred, and any other property that you purchased or acquired. Usually, property includes items such as houses, cars, clothing, jewelry, furniture and anything else for which a market exists. It also includes bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, insurance policies and businesses.
Unless you can prove that property is separate, the court tends to assume that everything you have acquired since your wedding day is subject to division as community property. In order to prove that property is separate, you must be able to provide documentation that the property in question was a gift, inheritance, acquired prior to your marriage, or that you have a marital agreement in place that classifies the property as separate.
Sometimes, the court does not divide debt the same way it divides community property. While a 50/50 split is the norm for all community property, the court has the discretion to divide debt in a way it considers to be fair or equitable. This means that you may end up with less debt and your husband is responsible for the majority of it.
Property out of state
If you and your husband own property outside of California, in a non-community property state, the divorce court will still treat the property according to community property laws. Usually, the court that has jurisdiction over your divorce also has jurisdiction over the division of all the property you own, no matter where it is located.
If you are considering divorce, it is important to understand your rights and options so that you can make the best possible decisions for your financial future.