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How Does California’s Community Property Law Affect My Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Los Gatos community property division lawyerIn most states, the rules are not always cut and dry on how property will be divided between divorcing couples. This can result in a lengthy court battle, but for California and a handful of other states, there are community property laws that were implemented with the intent of easing the process. Community property laws require couples to split in half all the assets that were acquired during the marriage, exactly down the middle.

What Is the Basis for Community Property?

The community property law was developed under the premise that marriage is like a community. Both parties were working and contributing to that community throughout the marriage. Therefore, all property belongs to the community and should be split 50/50 when the marriage ends. No consideration is made for who actually earned the money.

The flipside of the community property law is that there are often debts to be considered as well. This means that spouses, or the community, also share the debts, no matter whose name is on any bills or statements. These debts could include a mortgage, car loans, credit cards, student loans, and more.

Does Community Property Mean All Property?

The short answer is no. Community property only covers the assets the couple acquired together within the state of California. Property that each spouse owned before the marriage, along with anything either party acquired after a legal separation, will not be split.

In California, the community property estate is officially over when the spouses separate physically, with the intent to end the marriage. Both spouses must be in agreement when the separation occurs in order for that time to be considered the end of the community property estate.

Where the couple was married does not change the application of community property law, although, again, any assets that may have been acquired in other states will likely not be part of the 50/50 split. Of course, that will depend on the laws in the other state where the couple had lived.

How Does the Community Property Law Impact Taxes?

The tax issues related to property division can be very complex, so it is advisable to seek the advice of a trusted CPA in order to evaluate your financial needs and determine the most beneficial division of property.  

Contact a Reliable Los Gatos, CA Property Division Attorney

Community property laws can often make a divorce process go smoothly, but there will likely be a variety of complex details to work out with your financial advisor and/or CPA initially. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we can help you sort through these legal issues and reach a positive outcome to your case. You need a knowledgeable Los Gatos divorce lawyer to negotiate your California divorce settlement. Call 408-395-8822 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

 

https://www.irs.gov/irm/part25/irm_25-018-001

 

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