How Will My Assets Be Divided in a California Divorce?

One of the most common divorce tropes is that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is going to “take you for all you’ve got.” You’ve worked hard to get where you are and to hold the assets you do today, so why would you have to turn those over in your divorce?

Questions surrounding the division of assets during a divorce are among the most common questions we get at KL Family Law. People understandably want to protect what’s theirs and move on with their lives without giving up everything they’ve worked for. We can say upfront you don’t have to worry about losing everything as California law dictates how the division of assets will play out.

California is a Community Property State

California is a community property state. As a “community property state,” California courts presume any property acquired during your marriage as community property between you and your spouse. All community property will be divided 50/50 based on the overall value of assets unless another agreement precedes this or other exceptions apply. It’s important to note that this also includes debt either spouse acquired during the marriage, as well – even in cases where you didn’t know about the debt.

The opposite of a community property state is an equitable division state in which property is divided equitably or fairly. In those states, which California is not, property will be split in a manner that is fairer to each spouse given their circumstances in exiting the marriage.

Ways to Avoid the 50/50 Split

The community property approach is the standard for California courts, but you will both have opportunities to prevent certain assets and debts from being thrown into the pool. These opportunities include:

  • Premarital Agreements: Pre-and-postnuptial agreements that specify how assets and debts will be divided will prevent the courts from dividing what’s specified in the agreement. These agreements will only stand as long as both parties fully understood the agreement and were not coerced or pressured into the agreement, and certain other requirements are satisfied..
  • Mutual Agreement: You can both work together to decide how the assets will be divided. The court will not get in the way of a mutual agreement as long as both parties agree and are not forced into the agreement in any way and the agreement does not violate any public policies.
  • Mediation: You can work with a mediator to determine the division of assets which avoids leaving it up to chance with the courts while still not forcing you to negotiate directly with your spouse.

Don’t Negotiate Without an Attorney

In an ideal world, you can both come to terms without needing the courts to divide your assets and debts for you. Of course, a failing marriage can make such negotiations more complicated, and, in most cases, it’s inevitable that one party will try to dictate the terms over the other.

Your best bet to get the most out of your divorce while protecting what you’ve earned is to work with an experienced California family law attorney. The team here at KL Family Law helps families move forward with compassion and integrity. Contact our office and make sure you don’t lose out on important assets or end up being forced to pay for debts your ex built up.

The following two tabs change content below.

KL Family Law

At KL Family Law, we understand that your primary concern is the well-being of your children. We strive to offer tailored solutions for your family law needs and help you move forward through this difficult transition.

Latest posts by KL Family Law (see all)

Skip to content