If you are going through a divorce in California, you may have heard of the term “Moore/Marsden calculation.” This term refers to the formula used in our state to determine how much of a property’s equity belongs to each spouse when one spouse bought the property before marriage, but both spouses contributed to the mortgage payments or improvements during marriage.
For couples who have been married for quite awhile and those that brought property into the marriage, this can be quite an important calculation, should you decide to divorce.
Separate versus community property
In our state, property acquired during marriage is generally community property that is divided 50/50 in a divorce. Property acquired before the marriage or after your separation from your spouse is usually considered separate property. Separate property belongs solely to the spouse who acquired it and is not subject to divorce property division.
The origin of Moore/Marsden calculations
The Moore/Marsden calculations derive from two California cases: In re Marriage of Moore from 1980, and In re Marriage of Marsden from 1982. These cases set precedents in how separate property should be divided when it is maintained with community funds, which blurs the line between separate and community property.
The formula of Moore/Marsden calculations
The Moore/Marsden calculations are a way of apportioning the equity in a property between separate and community property based on the contributions made by each spouse. The formula takes into account many factors, including the property’s value when you divorce, the value at the time of the marriage and its original purchase price. It also factors in the principle prior to marriage, and the amounts both spouses contributed to the property during the marriage.