The thought of going toe-to-toe with your spouse during your divorce proceeding may leave you feeling stressed and drained. This is especially true if you and your spouse have been married for an extended period of time and have thus amassed a large number of assets or high-value assets.
Splitting up the property you accumulated during your marriage can be a daunting task. However, understanding the law may help you to make personally beneficial decisions regarding this aspect of your divorce proceeding.
California is a community property state, which means that if you take your property division issues to a judge at trial, the court will typically split your property 50/50. However, in some cases, property will not be divided down the middle due to factors such as a disparity in the spouses' earning capacities and whether one spouse receives primary custody of the children.
The assets you and your spouse must divide during your divorce may include the following:
- The family home
- Legal title
- Wages that either you or your spouse earned while married
- Interest income that you earned through business operations and investments
Separate property, or property that you or your spouse accrued prior to your marriage, is not subject to division. Separate property can include any items that either of you inherited or received as gifts during your marriage if kept separate, any bank accounts that you hold separately or anything you earned following your dissolution date.
If the court has to make a decision regarding how you and your spouse will split your assets during divorce, you and your spouse may end up not being completely satisfied with the outcome of your proceeding. Unfortunately, an outcome that you are not pleased with can end up having a long-term impact on your financial future.
If you and your spouse are willing to find common ground in the area of asset distribution, you may benefit from going through divorce mediation instead of going to trial. Mediation is an alternative to traditional divorce litigation that allows you and your spouse to work toward a mutually satisfactory and beneficial agreement. It offers the benefit of being less costly and less time consuming while promoting an amicable family law proceeding.