When going through a divorce, it is important that you know how to properly identify your assets. When you enter a marriage, a partnership is formed and the partnership has the right to the earnings from the services of each partner. All property possessed by the parties to a marriage are presumed to be community property, unless you can prove that it is separate property and has not been commingled with community property. As marital partners are fiduciaries of each other, this presumption comes into play no matter whose name the property is registered in.
Generally, community property is everything that either spouse has earned or acquired during the marriage based on personal labor or services. For example, money each spouse earned at work during marriage, put in a joint checking account, and used to pay household bills is considered community property.
Separate property is defined as anything acquired by a spouse before the marriage, during the marriage by gift, devise, or bequest, or acquired after the parties separate. Hence, separate property belongs only to one spouse. To maintain its separate character, it cannot be commingled with community property unless you can trace the separate portion and prove that it has maintained its separateness.
California is a community property state which generally requires that the community estate be divided equally if there is no written agreement requiring a particular division of property and regardless of whose name the property is in. Therefore, there is a presumption that the assets will be divided equally between each spouse if acquired during marriage.
We, at The Zhou Law Group, APC can assist you in dividing your property to protect your rights and interest. If you have any questions regarding Family Law, please feel to arrange a free 1/2 hour initial consultation with our Family Law Attorneys by calling (408)289-9688, or contacting us online at www.sanjoseattorneys.com.