Getting a divorce is usually not a cut-and-dried process. You need to make many decisions along the way. For example, you will need to decide what property you want to keep following your divorce. You may have an attachment to furniture, jewelry or even the family home. Thus, it is important to understand how California law treats property in a divorce.
Community property versus separate property
California law recognizes two types of property: community property and separate property. Community property is anything earned or purchased while the couple was married. Both spouses have an equal right to any community property, and it will be split as evenly as possible in a divorce.
Separate property is that which one spouse owned before getting married, along with gifts and inheritances left to one spouse only. Separate property will not be included in the marital estate and will remain the property of the spouse that owns it following the divorce.
Sometimes separate property can become enmeshed in community property so much that it is no longer possible to discern what property is separate and what property is community. This is known as commingling. When assets commingle the once separate property transforms into community property and will be treated as such.
Know your property rights in a divorce
You may have a lot of attachment to certain properties you obtained while married. This makes it important that the property division process is fair. Knowing what property is separate property and what property is community property is the first step in determining what you want to keep following your divorce.