Marital Property vs Separate Property in California

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According to California law, property and debts acquired during marriage belong to both parties. This means when couples decide to divorce, they must determine how they are going to divide their assets and debts. While some parties are able work out who gets what on their own, many need to go to court and let a judge or jury decide.

If you are going through a divorce and are uncertain about how your property will be treated, it is important to understand the property laws in California. Also, because property division can be complicated and the consequences of mistakes so high, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced divorce attorney in Monterey before your divorce.

Which type of property do you own?

In California, there are two classifications of property. Understanding the difference between the two is one of the first steps to dividing property successfully.

Listed below are the two classifications of property in a California divorce:

  • Marital property. California follows a community property law, which states that all properties and assets acquired during marriage are owned by both spouses. This includes income and earnings, properties and assets acquired, and debts accumulated during the marriage.
  • Separate property. This refers to assets and property that is owned solely by one spouse. It can include property bought before the divorce or after the separation, gifts or inheritances that were kept in one name, property that was acquired during the marriage but is in one name only, or property that you and your spouse have stated is separate in writing.

During the divorce, both parties must fill out and file a form called a Schedule of Assets and Debts. This schedule discloses detailed information about your marital property and separate property. Even though your separate property will not be divided, it must be listed in your Schedule of Assets and Debts.

Contact a property division attorney in California

At Giuliano Law, we know how to protect what is yours in a divorce. With over twenty years of experience, we understand how difficult divorces can be and how important it is for you to keep your property. If you’re going through a divorce in Hollister, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz or Monterey County and have questions about property division or any other aspects of the divorce process, we can help. Give us a call today at (831) 372-4003 or contact us online. We look forward to speaking with you.

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