Spanish and Vietnamese Speaking Firm

Is the equal division of property rule in California divorces absolute?

by | Aug 15, 2023 | Property Division


A typical major concern of divorcing parties is how courts will divide properties and how it will affect their final share once the court finalizes the divorce. California is one of the states that follow a community property division in divorces. This means the court will divide all properties and debts the spouses acquire during the marriage equally between them. Nevertheless, there are instances when courts do not strictly follow the 50/50 rule.

Agreements that state otherwise

If the spouses entered into a valid written agreement that outlines how they will divide properties in case of a divorce, the courts will acknowledge and apply the same, even if the final division is not equal. The most common type of agreement that spouses enter into is a prenuptial agreement.

Gifts and inheritances

Properties that a spouse receives as gifts or inheritances are not part of the marital assets, even if the spouse receives them during the union. These types of properties solely belong to the receiving spouse.

However, if spouses commingle separate and marital assets, such as using marital funds to redecorate a separate property, they might lose their separate nature and the court might include them in the division of property during divorce. Hence, it is essential for spouses to keep track of their properties and any usage thereof.

Other properties that are proven to be separate

In California, there is a presumption that spouses jointly own and have equal interests in a property that they have, unless one can prove that it is a separate asset or falls under the categories mentioned above.

Steps to protect your property rights and interests

Whether you own simple or high-valued assets, keeping a detailed list of all the separate and marital properties can help protect your rights during a divorce. If you are unsure about the nature of a property, it might help to reach out for legal help to ensure you are receiving proper guidance during the process.