California is a community property state, which means that after a divorce, marital property is split right down the middle. This is a broader category that can include any property acquired during the marriage, any income earned during the marriage and any debts incurred during the marriage.
According to FindLaw, income can refer to retirement accounts, capital gains, stock dividends, interest income and salary. In a community property state, there is no preference given to the person who bought the property or who made more money than the other partner.
Does anything stay separate in a community property state?
In a community property state, anything that the couple buys or owns before the union stays separate and is not included in the marital property. This also includes anything that is received as a gift and kept in a separate account or anything received as part of an inheritance.
Uncontested divorce and agreement can change division
If both parties in the divorce prefer a different distribution plan and the divorce is uncontested, the attorneys may work out a different arrangement. California is one of the only states that focuses on community property, while many others rely on an equitable distribution plan, which focuses on the income of each spouse and the length of the marriage.
Because the laws in the state are unique and very specific, navigating a divorce can be complex and confusing. Those who are entering the divorce process benefit from having a family law and divorce attorney on their side who understands the best way to divide property and to keep the separation process as simple as possible.