One of the most common concerns in a divorce case in Roseville is how the courts will divide the couple’s property. Everything a couple has acquired during a marriage – every hard-earned cent – will be subject to division in a California divorce case. This includes the family home and any other real estate holdings. Find out how the courts handle the division of a family home to better prepare for the legal process ahead.
How Is Community Property Considered When Dealing With Property in California?
California is one of nine community property states. California views a married couple as their own community after the union. Community property refers to all the assets (and debts) acquired by the couple after marriage. Separate property, on the other hand, is not part of the community. It refers to property brought into the marriage separately by each spouse, as well as property acquired during the marriage in only one spouse’s name, plus gifts and inheritance given to one spouse.
During a divorce case in California, the courts will split all community property down the middle for equitable distribution. The community property law divides a couple’s assets 50/50 when a divorce case goes to trial, regardless of the financial circumstances of each spouse, the custody arrangement or fault for the divorce. The only exception is if the couple plans a different property arrangement between themselves during mediation and achieves a divorce via settlement. In this scenario, the couple can agree on something other than a 50% division of property.
How Is a Community Property Home Divided?
Couples that own marital property together, such as a family home, may work out a property division agreement before taking the matter to a judge in California. A divorce settlement can make for an easier, faster and less expensive legal process, as well as keep the couple in control of property division. With a settlement agreement, a couple can decide how to divide a community property home in a way that works for both parties.
- The couple agrees to co-own the property after the divorce.
- One spouse buys out the other’s share of the property and becomes the sole owner.
- One spouse keeps the house in exchange for a larger portion of other property or a smaller portion of community debt.
- The couple puts the home up for sale and divides the proceeds.
When determining who gets the home in Roseville, a divorcing couple will need to consider factors such as child custody, child support payments, tax issues and whether one spouse can afford mortgage payments alone post-divorce. If the matter has to go to court, a judge will treat a shared home the same way as other types of community property. Each spouse will own one-half of the marital home. The judge can establish a court order for the couple to sell the home and divide the proceeds 50/50. The only exception is if one spouse can prove that the home is his or her separate property.
What If the House Is Separate Property?
A house will be separate property if one spouse owned the home alone before getting married, if the house was acquired as a gift or inheritance during the marriage, or if one spouse bought the house after the couple’s date of separation. The house might also qualify as separate property in California if one spouse, during the marriage, purchased the property with 100% of his or her own money and kept the house in his or her name. In addition, a couple can agree to change the status of a piece of property (including a family home) from community to separate property for a divorce case, if desired. If the house is separate property, it belongs to the spouse who is the owner. Thus, it will be protected from a property division order during a divorce case in California. The owner will retain full ownership of the home without the risk of having to share it with an ex-spouse or sell it to divide the profits.
If the house is community property, however, it must be divided. Work with a divorce attorney in Sacramento for assistance with property division. A family law attorney can help you protect the assets that mean the most to you, including a family home.