Whether filing for a divorce was your idea or your spouse's – or maybe it was actually an amicable and mutual agreement between the two of you – you need to start thinking about property division early on in the process. Keeping assets that you believe should belong to you can become a tug-of-war in even the calmest of uncontested divorces. So what are you supposed to do to protect your property from your ex-spouse?
In California State, you should be able to keep anything that is not marital property, or something you owned before your marriage. Proving that you and only you owned it might not be straightforward, though. If you have any financial records or payment receipts, those can really help your argument, if not solidify it entirely.
For small things, this might not be an issue but you should definitely look for records that prove ownership for:
- Checking and/or savings accounts
- Large appliances or furniture
Community Property in California
What about everything you accrued while you were married? Marital property in California is called "community property," meaning that you and your spouse have an equal share in it. Since a physical property cannot be cut in half and split 50-50, the values of all your marital property will be added up and then distributed such that the end result is each spouse having different items of the equal total value. For example, you may keep the house, but your ex-spouse retains control of a significant portion of a joint savings account and your family car.
It can be difficult to navigate around this system and show the court that you deserve more than half of the community property. In most cases, you will need to either A) prove that marital property is not actually marital at all and existed in your possession or B) your ex-spouse has done something that would exclude them from earning a stake in that piece of property. This is similar to using grounds in a divorce.
At Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich, our Murrieta divorce attorneys are proud to support the people of Southern California during their family law disputes. With 50 years of combined experience and a certified family law specialist on our team, you can feel comfortable and confident in knowing that compassionate and skilled professionals are here for you.