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Divorce Litigation When a Spouse Claims Community Property Is Separate Property

Posted on in Property Division

California divorce lawyerIn many cases of divorce in California, it is possible for divorcing spouses to avoid litigation and retain control over decision-making with regard to the division of marital property and establishing of parenting time with children. In some instances, however, it is not possible to reach a fair and mutually agreeable resolution, whether because of anger, resentment, greed, or other conflict-escalating emotions.

In high-asset divorces, particularly, there may disagreements over the division of marital property. In a California divorce, division must abide by the state’s community property law, which determines what constitutes the “marital economic community” in a marriage. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse is arguing for unfair division of marital property, claiming as separate property what is, in fact, the community property of the marriage, turn to an experienced Sunnyvale divorce attorney.

California Is One of Nine Community Property Law States

As one of nine community property law states in the U.S., California maintains that both spouses are to be regarded as equal co-owners of property acquired during the marriage. As follows, this property acquired during the marriage is to be divided equally in the event the marriage is dissolved through the divorce process. Here, the word “during” is key. Often, when a dispute arises with regard to the division of marital property in a divorce, this word is at the center of it.

This is because, while California is a community property state, it still acknowledges the existence of what is termed “separate property.” Under California law, separate property is property acquired either before the marriage or after the divorce. Importantly, this property is not divided at the marriage’s dissolution; rather, each spouse is entitled to keep 100% of all property rightfully classified as separate property.

Proving When Claimed “Separate Property” Is Actually Community Property

In California, each spouse owns a one-half (50%) interest in the regular income of the other. Where things can become complex, especially in high-asset divorces, is when income is being used to invest in stocks, real property, and other assets. While profits from income earned through employment during the marriage fall into the category of community property, the same is not true for income earned through the investment of genuine separate property resources.

When assets are vast, or become intermingled, income sometimes must be traced back to its original source, whether community or separate in nature. In safeguarding your legal share in the marital economic community, trust in an experienced California divorce attorney. Please contact a skilled Los Gatos divorce attorney from Ventresca Law Firm at 408-395-8822. We service clients in the Los Gatos, Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Cupertino, and San Jose areas.



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