What happens to your belongings and debts in California divorces?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2022 | Property Division

The three big issues in any divorce are property division, child custody and financial support. If a couple doesn’t have minor children or a dependent spouse who requires regular financial support from the other, property division will be the biggest point of contention in their divorce.

Spouses often struggle to reach a property settlement and failing to understand the law can make this process even harder. Provided that you have been in California for long enough to meet the jurisdiction requirements, California state laws will apply to your divorce proceedings.

What are the rules that govern the division of your belongings and your debts in a California divorce?

California has community property laws

Although most states in the country now use equitable distribution rules in divorce proceedings, California has community property law. The courts will treat everything that you acquired during marriage as marital or community property.

Even if only one spouse is on the ownership paperwork for an asset or a debt, it will still likely be marital property that they have to divide. Student loans taken on during the marriage can end up the responsibility of both spouses, while a retirement account funded in the name of one spouse during the marriage could get split up as well.

Many couples facing divorce prefer to retain control over property division proceedings, which requires that they negotiate their own settlement. Otherwise, a judge will review their household records and then make decisions about how to split their property. Familiarizing yourself with California’s divorce laws will help you understand what to expect when you divide your assets with your spouse.