California is a community property state and except as otherwise provided by statute, all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during marriage, while domiciled in the State of California is community property (Family Code section 760).
Real property is land, improved with structures or homes, or unimproved (vacant). Personal property includes items like cars, boats, furniture, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other investment accounts, and much more.
Separate property is all property acquired before marriage, after the parties’ date of separation, or during marriage by gift, bequest, devise or descent, and the rents, issues and profits of the property described herein. (Family Code section 770).
In dividing property on divorce, there must be a determination as to whether the property is community (belonging to both spouses based on the date of acquisition) or separate (belonging to one spouse or the other).
The rules of property division are complex. For example, even if the property is separate, the community may have gained an interest in the property, whether it be a business or a home, during the course of the marriage. Further, if separate assets and community assets are mixed, the person seeking to claim the separate interest will bear the burden of proving ownership and the extent thereof.
The issue of property under the California Family Code is complex. Please contact Attorney Rizzo to discuss how your assets will be affected by divorce. Also, you are invited to check back from time to time to review property topics in the blog that may be of interest.