Community property is divided right down the middle in a California divorce, but some things (like your house) are not capable of an even split. Thankfully, there are laws remedying this issue.
Both spouses are entitled to half the market value of the entire community estate.
In most cases, market value of your community property determines how it will be divided. Both spouses are entitled to half the market value of the entire community estate. A court will proceed based on that total value, meaning that each item is evaluated and distributed on a case-by-case basis.
When assigning market values and deciding who will take what community piece of property, keep in mind that neither spouse has an inherent right to claim “half ownership” of any specific asset. In the case of bigger possessions such as a home or vehicle, both spouses will be awarded equalized assets by the end of the process.
For example, if one spouse gets a $20,000 car and the other receives a house valued at $50,000, the first spouse is required to “equalize payment” of $15,000 to the other to make up the allocated difference ($30,000 divided by two).
A “Clean Break”
This law is intended to facilitate a “clean break,” or a situation where joint property ownership is eliminated so each spouse can move forward independently. Of course, there are mitigating circumstances the court takes into account when distributing assets. Sentimental value for certain property and family situations involving children are factors that can affect the final ruling on community property.
Despite these possibilities, the court will rarely request that spouses remain co-owners of assets when their divorce is finalized.
Property that is owned by just one spouse does not fall under the same type of asset distribution, but the same cannot be said of more complicated assets, such as business holdings, stocks, and retirement accounts that require another set of rules.
We understand each spouse views community property in a different way based on their own attachments. Their experienced attorneys will fight so the court and your spouse know what is important to you, so give them a call today.