If a resident of California is considering getting a divorce, there are a number of things that they will want to figure out. In addition to deciding if they are ready to end their marriage, people will also need to think about who will keep custody of their children and how property division will be handled. Division of assets in a divorce is a major issue for most people because it will have a direct and enormous impact on their financial situation, often for years to come.
California is a community property state. This means that all property, savings and investments accrued during a marriage are eligible for asset division. No matter how much or little effort was put into generating assets during a marriage, they will be divided equally. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. The first is that property brought into a marriage is excluded from asset division. For example, if someone owned a home before they were married, the home would be exempt.
Additionally, income from assets owned before a marriage are also normally excluded. If someone had an investment account, dividends or interest would generally not be eligible for division. Another exception is in the case of prenuptial agreements. If both parties signed a legal document before marriage regarding how assets would be divided in the case of a divorce, the prenuptial agreement would determine who got what.
Since property division during a divorce is often complicated and contentious, it may be a good idea for someone ending their marriage to speak with an attorney. An attorney may be able to help people understand the legal process and what their options are.
Source: Opposing Views, “What Assets Are Protected From Divorce Settlements?“, Amanda McMullen, May 10, 2013