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Property division and a California divorce

The exact numerical rate of marriages and divorces that occur among California couples is a changing number. However, what doesn't seem to change is the uncertainty and turmoil that a divorce can cause. The financial and emotional issues seem to magnify the entire situation. Perhaps one of the most important decisions to be made has to do with property division.

California is a community property state. This means that all marital assets are generally divided on a 50/50 basis among the divorcing couple. In other words, real estate, bank accounts, investments and other items that the couple has acquired throughout the marriage are typically equally divided. Additionally, debts that the couple has acquired are also divided equally.

There is also a provision for separate property. This includes both assets and debts that were acquired prior to the marriage or held solely in one name. It can also include items received as a gift or an inheritance.

One way in which individuals can ensure that certain items are protected in case of a divorce or that property is divided in a specific way is through a prenuptial agreement. This agreement details how property division should be handled if a divorce occurs. It can also address other items such as inheritances and spousal support.

While almost any California divorce can cause emotional and financial turmoil, this uncertainty can be tempered through recognizing that each party is entitled to half of the marital estate. The question that remains is exactly how this property should be divided. In making these decisions, it is often beneficial to discuss the situation with one's legal counsel.

Source: businessinsider.com, "In 9 US states, a divorce means you'll lose half of everything you own -- here's why", Tanza Loudenback, Nov. 10, 2016

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