Unlike many states, California law holds that assets obtained during marriage are spit 50-50 by the spouses in the case of a divorce. This certainly makes things conceptually easier, but also complicates matters if the partners had unequal earning power or worked inside the home for part of the marriage. Here is a look at how assets are divided in a divorce:
Splitting Down the Middle
California is a community property state. This means that everything earned and bought by spouses during the course of their marriage can be split in half upon their divorce. This generally does not apply to property brought into the marriage or any money inherited by only one of the partners. Aside from those exceptions, California couples who have not signed an overriding prenuptial agreement can expect to split their assets 50-50. The community property laws also apply to all investment products and liquid assets held by either spouse at the time of filing, even if one spouse is attempting to hide these assets form his or her spouse.
Opening the Door to Questions
Whenever a household is split in two, many financial decisions must be made in a short period of time. For instance, how do couples split 401k and pension plans if one spouse was a stay-at-home parent with no income? How are other investments and real estate divided between the spouses? These are complex questions that have both short and long-term consequences. Even a simple 50-50 split may result in a higher tax burden for one spouse than the other. This is why consulting a skilled family law attorney is essential to getting through a marriage dissolution.
Asset division in the case of a divorce can be a tough subject involving discussions of finances, taxes, and appraisals. If you live in the San Jose area and need to speak to an experienced attorney, contact Moreno Family Law by calling (408) 266-9011. Our staff can help advise you on what to ask for and how to best split your possessions, so call today.