Property Division In California


The purpose of California property division laws is to make sure that California marital property is allocated equally to each spouse, generally in a 50-50 split. If a 50-50 division would not be equitable, the courts may choose to divide the California divorce property in a more equitable fashion as permitted under California case law.


California is a community property state. This means that with regard to California divorce assets, each spouse has a ½ vested interest in the property of the other spouse that should be considered in dividing California divorce assets or California divorce property. The only property that does not come into the court’s distribution is that which is listed as an exception outside of California Family Code §760.


What is Considered Marital and Non-Marital Property?

California marital property is defined under California Family Code §760 as all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state. Property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community property unless proven otherwise.


Non-marital property is any property specifically defined in another statute as not being community property. One example is property acquired during marriage by gift, bequest, device, or descent. Such property is the acquiring spouse’s separate property. per California Family Code §770.


Dividing Assets and Debt

After the court decides which property is available for distribution, the next step is property valuation. The last step is either a 50-50 division of property or the most equitable division as determined by the California trial court. This may include the assignment of entire assets and/or debts to each of the parties. It is important to note that a Court’s decision regarding division and assignment of assets and debts is based upon many factors.

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