There is no simple way to explain what assets and debts you should be working on dividing and resolving any disputes about in a divorce case. Keep in mind that any community property assets and debts are usually divided equally between marital parties or domestic partners, while separate property assets without any community property interest remain the property of one person and are not divided. The line between what’s worth fighting for in a divorce and what isn’t is often blurry. Working with a divorce attorney is the key to getting what you want out of community property asset and debt division.

What is considered community property in a California Divorce?

California is one of several states that regards all property (including real property, personal property, and more) and debts acquired during a marriage to be community property. This rule does not apply where those assets or debts are strictly separate property such as an inheritance, gifts made to one party only, some real and personal property owned before marriage, or investment earnings from separate property investments. This generally means that these assets and debts are divided equally in a divorce or legal separation case, though the court could order the party with greater income and assets to cover a larger portion of the marital debt if the disparity of income and property is extreme.

Here are examples of community property and separate property: 

Community property

Community property to be divided includes but is not limited to these types of property:

  • Real estate;
  • Stock and stock options;
  • Bank accounts;
  • Investment accounts;
  • 401k and IRA accounts;
  • Any and all Retirement assets  acquired during marriage and annuities;
  • Cars, trucks, boats, RVs;
  • Timeshares;
  • Art, jewelry, valuable antiques;
  • Treasury bonds and bearer bonds;
  • Restricted stock units (RSUs);
  • Corporations, partnerships, and businesses;
  • Military retirement benefits;
  • Personal property such as TVs, furniture, computers and sound systems, farm equipment, appliances;
  • Checking and savings accounts;
  • Debts including credit cards, personal loans, auto loans

Separate property

Inheritance, bequest, devise:

Property of any kind that is bestowed on a party to the marriage through a will, trust, probate proceeding.

Gifts:

Gifts made by someone to only one person in the marriage even if during the marriage.

Separate property before marriage:

Student loans, child support, and spousal support owed, real property owned before marriage, retirement and investment accounts earned before marriage, personal property acquired before marriage. 

Other issues that arise in a divorce case

Other than division of assets and debts, the issues that commonly arise when going through divorce involve custody and visitation of minor children, child support, and daycare costs, spousal support, and often attorney’s fees and costs. Facing all of these issues alone can be very intimidating, so the attorneys here at JWB Family Law can provide you with advice and guidance based on our many years of family law practice experience here in San Diego. Give us a call to schedule an interview and find out your options.

The Importance of the CFLS Designation

A Certified Family Law Specialist, or CFLS, is an attorney who has obtained certification in the standards of California family law and demonstrated optimal legal competence. Attorneys who obtain this certification have specific expertise in all aspects of family law, which includes divorce or the dissolution of marriagechild and spousal supportchild custody, and temporary restraining orders, among other areas of emphasis.

Not every attorney practicing family law has obtained this certification. In fact, the designation remains relatively rare—there are fewer than 2,000 CFLS attorneys in California and fewer than 200 in San Diego.

Contact JWB Family Law Today

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