What types of property are included in the marital estate?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2021 | Property Division |

When a couple in California divorces, they may be concerned about what property they will get to keep and what property will go to their spouse. The distribution of property in a divorce may depend on whether the property is separate in nature, community in nature or commingled.

Separate property

Separate property includes anything a spouse owned prior to the marriage. It also includes inheritances and gifts made to one spouse. Rent, profits or money earned on separate property will also be considered separate property. Separate property remains in the possession of the person who owned it prior to the marriage and will not be included in the divisible marital estate.

Community property

In general, in California all assets owned by spouses together that they obtained during the course of the marriage is considered community property, regardless of who holds title, and is included in the divisible marital estate. Earnings made during the marriage used to purchase marital property may be considered community property. Debts obtained during the course of the marriage are also considered community debts, even if they are in the name of one spouse only.

Commingled property

Some assets are part separate and part community in nature. This is referred to as “commingling.” When separate and community property is mixed together to the point where it is no longer possible to trace the separate property from the community property, this is considered commingling and the once-separate property would be considered community property for property division purposes.

Learn more about property division in California

Property division in California may initially seem straight-forward, but it can become very complex very quickly. It is generally something a divorcing spouse does not want to handle alone. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on property division in California may be a useful resource to those who want to learn more about this topic.



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