You probably bought a house with your spouse and made other investments during your marriage. Therefore, when you decide to divorce, you know you’re entitled to a share of those assets and property. Altogether, these assets are known as the marital estate.
If you can agree with your spouse on how to divide up the marital estate, that’s well and good. All you have to do is take such an agreement to a divorce court for approval. However, if you can’t decide who gets what, a judge can make that call for you, guided by state laws.
How property division works in California
California is a community property state. In the absence of a legally binding agreement that states otherwise, like a prenup, marital assets are divided equally upon divorce in California. Both you and your soon-to-be ex have an equal share in assets acquired during your marriage.
- Retirement accounts
- Stock options, among others
Notably, separate property is not affected by a divorce. You do not have to worry about losing half your inheritance to your ex-spouse or other assets you owned before the marriage – although there are exceptions, particularly when the separate and marital property has been mixed together. In such a case, such assets can be considered community property.
Protecting your interests
There is more to property division than assets. Debts are also a crucial part of the conversation and must be divided too. Learning more about how everything works and what you deserve from the divorce will help you safeguard your rights and avoid getting a raw deal.
Divorce can be emotionally draining and overwhelming, especially if it is contested. Therefore, it is advisable to reach out for assistance at the very start.