Throughout a marriage, two people partner up to create the life they’ve always dreamed of. Sometimes a couple pools their paychecks and have a combined income. It’s also normal for a couple to own property that they consider “theirs” (belonging to both of them). A couple’s shared property can consist of many different things – everything from a washing machine to a new home that the parties have both invested in.
When either spouse decides it’s no longer worth staying married, all these combined assets suddenly must be split. There is the question of property and the division of assets and liabilities. For couples going through a divorce in California, it is important to know what this entails.
California is a community property state. This means that a marriage or the registration of a domestic partnership makes 2 people 1 legal “community.” So, property that the couple acquires during marriage or partnership is “community property.” And debt that the couple acquires during the marriage or partnership also belongs to the “community debt.” At the same time, each person may not be granted exactly one-half of the property by the court, depending on the details surrounding the divorce.
What is Community Property in a California Divorce?
A California court oversees community property division during divorce proceedings. It is crucial to work with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer to negotiate and resolve property division issues.
California considers belongings as “community” property because a married couple, or official domestic partnership, is considered a community. Additionally, because of the community property theory, all property and debts that were received throughout the marriage by either party or both spouses are viewed as owned by both spouses, including vehicles, income, savings, stocks and bonds, retirement and 401k accounts, and more.
Credit card debt, car loans, mortgages, and other types of debt that accumulated throughout the marriage are also considered part of the community. It doesn’t typically matter which spouse acquired this property or incurred this debt during the marriage.
What is Separate Property in a California Divorce?
Separate property includes anything that the spouses can prove they owned solely before getting married. Such property may be things like student loans, inheritances, gifts, property acquired before the wedding or while the parties lived separately, and property received after the couple separated.
What is Transmuted Property in a California Divorce?
Transmutation of property occurs when a property changes ownership during the marriage. Transmutation means that either:
• community property was transmuted to separate property
• the separate property was transmuted to community property
• a spouse’s separate property is transmuted into the other spouse’s separate property
In California, transmutation is a complicated issue that requires considerable legal analysis. To be considered valid, transmutations must occur in writing and adhere to a variety of statutory requirements. Your Riverside divorce attorney will give you an idea of what steps to consider for the best outcome in your divorce.
At Bratton Razo & Lord, we have helped individuals and families navigating the terms of their divorce agreements. We have worked on behalf of families throughout Riverside County since 1989. Call (951) 684-9000 for a free consultation or connect with us.