California divorce laws assets divided

A court will proceed based on that total value, meaning that each item is evaluated and distributed on a case-by-case basis. In the case of bigger possessions such as a home or vehicle, both spouses will be awarded equalized assets by the end of the process. Of course, there are mitigating circumstances the court takes into account when distributing assets.

Dividing The Family Home in a California Divorce

Sentimental value for certain property and family situations involving children are factors that can affect the final ruling on community property. Despite these possibilities, the court will rarely request that spouses remain co-owners of assets when their divorce is finalized. Property that is owned by just one spouse does not fall under the same type of asset distribution, but the same cannot be said of more complicated assets, such as business holdings, stocks, and retirement accounts that require another set of rules.

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California Divorce Laws for Personal Injury Award

During marriage, these classifications may seem trivial -- and typically aren't a factor -- but in the unfortunate events of divorce or death, these details become very important. The following information will help you better understand who owns what with respect to marital property. Most states are common law property states. So, what does it mean to live in a common law property state and who owns what after a divorce? The term "common law" is simply a term used to determine the ownership of marital property property acquired during marriage.

Community Property and Separate Property

The common law system provides that property acquired by one member of a married couple is owned completely and solely by that person. Of course, if the title or deed to a piece of property is put in the names of both spouses, however, then that property would belong to both spouses. If both spouses' names are on the title, each owns a one-half interest. Example : If George buys a car and puts it only in his name, that car belongs only to George. If George buys a car and puts it in both he and his husband Bob's name, then the car belongs to both of them.

Property distribution upon death or separation : When one spouse passes away, their separate property is distributed according to their will, or according to probate in the absence of a will. The distribution of the marital property depends on how the spouses share ownership.

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If they own property in " joint tenancy with the right of survivorship " or "tenancy by the entirety," the property goes to the surviving spouse. This right is independent of what the deceased spouse's will says.

However, if the property was owned as " tenancy in common ," then the property can go to someone other than the surviving spouse, per the deceased spouse's will. Not all property has a title or deed. In this case, generally, whoever paid for the property or received it as a gift owns it.

If the couple divorces or obtains a legal separation , the court will decide how the marital property will be divided.

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Community Property Overview

Of course, the couple can enter into an agreement before the marriage, explaining how to distribute the marital property upon divorce. Community property states follow the rule that all assets acquired during the marriage are considered "community property. This marital property includes earnings, all property bought with those earnings, and all debts accrued during the marriage.

Community property begins at the marriage and ends when the couple physically separates with the intention of not continuing the marriage. So, any earnings or debts originating after this time will be separate property. Any assets acquired before the marriage are considered separate property , and are owned only by that original owner. A spouse can, however, transfer the title of any of their separate property to the other spouse gift or to the community property making a spouse an account holder on bank account.

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Spouses can also comingle their separate property with community property, for example, by adding funds from before the marriage to the community property funds. Spouses may not transfer, alter, or eliminate any whole piece of community property without the other spouse's permission, but can manage their own half. However, the whole piece includes the other spouse's one half interest. In other words, that spouse cannot be alienated the one half that belongs to them.

Example : Martha and Fred have been married for 10 years.