Divorce and Community Property

Dissolving one’s marriage requires addressing “the things.” Who gets what? California is a community property state.  Married couples operate like business partnerships.  With few exceptions, e.g., inheritance, all income and assets received by either party during the marriage is treated as belonging to both parties equally.  Meanwhile, money and property owned by either party prior to marriage remain their “Separate Property.”

Simple premise, steeped in nuance.  Men and women bring checking accounts, retirement plans, and student loan debts into their marriages.  They start businesses, build stock portfolios, sell assets, buy homes, take loans from family, make improvements with mortgages, consolidate debt, make gifts to children.  Now who owns what?

We trace assets to their source. Some answers lie on the surface, but others can look like a shell game, requiring discovery on the other party and subpoenas on financial institutions in order to obtain documents and testimony.  Parties to more complex cases might retain forensic accountants to evaluate the worth of a business.    If you have questions regarding property rights in your divorce and wish to schedule a consultation, gather your records, fill out the form on this page, and I or a staff member will be in touch with you shortly.