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California Property Division Factors

In California, the property and debt issues are typically settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award is actually order and decreed by the Superior Court within the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.

California is considered a "Community Property" state. Community property is defined as all property and debt that was acquired from the date of marriage until the marital cut-off date. The community assets will be split equally by the Superior Court if the spouses are unable to reach an agreement.

When dividing property for a dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties, property acquired by the parties during marriage in joint form, including property held in tenancy in common, joint tenancy, or tenancy by the entirety, or as community property, is presumed to be community property. This presumption is a presumption affecting the burden of proof and may be rebutted by either of the following: (a) A clear statement in the deed or other documentary evidence of title by which the property is acquired that the property is separate property and not community property. (b) Proof that the parties have made a written agreement that the property is separate property.

When economic situations warrant, the court may award an asset of the community estate to one party on such conditions as the court deems proper to effect a substantially equal division of the community estate.

The court may also award, from a party’s share, the amount the court determines to have been deliberately misappropriated by the party to the exclusion of the interest of the other party in the community estate.

Debts accumulated after the date of separation are treated as follows: (a) Debts incurred by either spouse for the common necessaries of life of either spouse or the necessaries of life of the children of the marriage for whom support may be ordered, in the absence of a court order or written agreement for support or for the payment of these debts, shall be confirmed to either spouse according to the parties’ respective needs and abilities to pay at the time the debt was incurred. (b) Debts incurred by either spouse for nonnecessaries of that spouse or children of the marriage for whom support may be ordered shall be confirmed without offset to the spouse who incurred the debt. (California Code - Sections: 2501, 2581, 2601, 2602, 2621, 2623, 2625, 2641)

Since California is a "Community Property" state, all marital property will be divided in a 50-50 fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses. This means that everything that is considered "up for grabs" in the dissolution will be distributed equally to each spouse. Obviously this does not entail splitting a car in half so to speak, but rather each spouse will be rewarded with assets of equal value. You can learn more about California property division in the California state statutes located at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.