While the primary concern of most divorcing couples is their kids, divorce involves many other issues, including property division. Property division is the process where the family law judge splits the marital property and debts.
What is property?
In this context, property refers to anything of value, including cash. In other words, anything purchased or that can be sold is property, like furniture, cars, your Riverside, California, home, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, etc.
What if we already made an agreement?
Even if it was a post- or prenuptial agreement, the judge will still need to find that it is, in fact, legally enforceable. However, if your agreement was informal, the judge will have to make a formal order, and you may find that “agreement” changed between the time you last spoke and when you appear before the Riverside, California, judge.
Debts and income continue to accrue
Until you have a court order for legal separation or divorce, your property and debts continue to accrue, together. This is true, regardless of who is taking out the debt, using the debt or buying and selling property.
California community property
The judge divides community property, which is what you and your spouse own and owe together. But, this is limited to the property acquired during your marriage (or converted to community property). If you did not live your entire married life in California, you may have quasi-community property as well.
Separate property is all the property and debts you entered the marriage with, including gifts given solely to you and inheritances. However, some property could convert into community property, depending on how it is paid or used.
How do I tell the difference?
The dates are important. Specifically, when you officially married and when you separated. While your marriage date is easily discernable, separation, not so much. This date is the day one spouse lets the other spouse know by words or actions that they wanted a divorce. But, your words and actions after that date must match the sentiment, like moving out and not moving back in. Of course, one short blog does not contain all property-division issues, and for those looking for detailed information, a Riverside, California, attorney may be a good phone call or email.