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How to prove your property is separate in divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | Property Division |

When it comes to property division, California is a community property state. Community property, sometimes referred to as marital property, consists of assets and debts that you and your spouse accumulated during your marriage. California law states that community property is owned equally by each spouse.

Separate property consists of assets and debts you acquired before the marriage. Separate property belongs to you alone. Your spouse does not have any claim to it.

What is separate property?

Property received as a gift, an inheritance or property that you purchased before you got married are considered separate property. However, separate property that mixes with community property converts the separate property to community property, which means it must now be split with your spouse.

Proving that property is separate can be challenging. If you owned property before getting married, you could prove that through documents showing when and where you purchased it.

This is easy enough with major property, such as a car, but becomes more difficult with smaller pieces of property. Most people do not keep receipts for every single item they purchased.

You may have to get creative with arguments in these cases. For example, if your spouse claims that your video game collection is community property, you can argue that you began playing and collecting video games at a young age so the entire video game collection should be considered your separate property.

Gifts and inheritances

When it comes to proving a gift, the person who gave you the gift could testify that they bought it and gave it to you. Any photos you took or messages you sent about the gift could also be used to prove it is your separate property.

Inheritances are probably the easiest pieces of separate property to prove. Documentation obtained through a probate court could prove that you received an inheritance meant for you alone.

Property division disputes can be frustrating and overwhelming. It helps to have someone helping you through the process.


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