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Understanding property division in California

Divorcing couples in California should understand how property division is handled in California. Property division can be an understandably high priority for divorcing spouses during their divorce. Property in California is divided upon divorce based on community property laws which generally means that property is divided in half upon divorce.

Marital property is property that is considered owned by both spouses. Marital property includes income and property acquired during the marriage. It is the only type of property that is subject to division, as separate property is generally not subject to division. Separate property, which is not subject to the property division process, includes property acquired before the marriage or property acquired as a gift, inheritance or personal injury award.

Property includes income and debts. Property can include cars; a family home; furniture and other home furnishings; and clothing and personal items. In addition, property can include bank accounts and cash; security deposits; pension plans; 401(k) plans; stocks; cash value in life insurance policies; a business; and some other types of property as well. There is a presumption that property is marital property. However, that presumption can be challenged. Property may also be commingled so it is important for divorcing couples to understand all of the different property types and how they impact property division.

Understanding property division basics can help divorcing couples navigate the process in the most positive manner based on the priorities of the parties. The property division process is designed to help guide couples through property division concerns which can be significant for both spouses.

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