If you are currently involved in divorce proceedings in the state of California, understanding the types of property that must be reported and included in your divorce can be essential to ensure a swift and positive resolution for these legal actions. California is a community property state meaning that the property and assets acquired during a marriage are divided equally between divorcing partners. Assets may include pensions, 401(k) retirement plans, real estate, jewelry, vehicles, boats, bank accounts, baseball card collections, securities and almost anything else of value.
What Is Considered Separate Property?
The separate property does not have to be included in a divorce agreement. These assets may have considerable value and can include some or all of the following:
• Assets acquired before marriage
• Pensions that became fully vested before the marriage
• Businesses owned by one spouse before the marriage and maintained solely by that spouse throughout the duration of the marriage
• Inheritances and property gifts made to just one spouse
• Personal gifts made to one member of the couple, even if the other spouse made the gift
• Assets acquired after the official date of separation
In some cases, however, these assets may be subject to community property laws and should be included in the property divided during your California divorce.
Commingling of Separate Property
The process by which separate property may become community property can be known as commingling. This occurs when assets previously held by one partner in the marriage mix with shared property. For example, a monetary inheritance deposited into a shared bank account may be considered community property and may be divided between the two spouses equally. This can happen even if the estate was intended for only one spouse. Commingling can also be alleged and may be supported by the court in other cases:
• A business held separately by one spouse before marriage and managed by both marital partners may be considered community property if the contribution of the other spouse can be deemed significant enough.
• A home owned by one spouse before the marriage that is used as the common home of both partners during the marriage can sometimes be considered community property by courts in the state of California.
• Gifts to one spouse that are treated by both partners as investments can be adjudged as community property and added to the value of the assets that must be divided equally.
Working with a qualified California divorce attorney can be the best way to determine whether a particular asset should be treated as community property or as separate property during your legal proceedings.
Some gifts or transfers between spouses during the marriage may also be considered a transmutation of separate property that may change it to community property or separate property of the other spouse.
An experienced California divorce lawyer can provide you with the expert advice and guidance needed to navigate the division of property during these legal proceedings. This can give you greater peace of mind and increased confidence during your California divorce.
If looking for legal help with your divorce in Fresno, California,
Contact the Law Office of Julia Ann Brungess today!