California is a community property state, which means that any property owned solely or jointly by either spouse, including real estate, falls into one of two categories: community property, which is subject to division in a divorce, or separate property, which is not subject to division in a divorce. Therefore, how real estate is divided depends completely on whether it is community or separate property.
For instance, if one spouse owned a house prior to the marriage, it is that spouse’s separate property. Typically, a spouse’s separate property will remain with him or her upon divorce. On the other hand, if a couple jointly purchases a house, it is community property, which the court must distribute in a divorce, either in accordance with the couple’s agreement or by court order in the event of a dispute.
In some cases, however, the situation is not so straightforward. For example, suppose that the husband owns a house prior to the marriage, which also has a mortgage loan. During the couple’s 15 years of marriage, both the husband and wife work and contribute financially to the mortgage secured by the home. Based on these facts, the home is both community and separate property. This means that while the value of the home at the time of the parties’ marriage may be the separate property of the husband, any additional value of the home that accrued during the parties’ marriage is community property.
The Los Angeles divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Vincent W. Davis & Associates are eager to listen to your concerns and answer your questions about all issues related to divorce under California law, including any issues related to child custody, visitation, and support, as well as property and debt division. We have represented countless clients involved in child custody and divorce proceedings, and we are here to give you the legal advice and guidance that you need. Call our offices at (888) 888-6582 and learn how we can help you with your California child custody, divorce, or family law case.