Navigating the Intricacies of Property Division in California Divorces

When two people get married, they take deliberate steps to intertwine their lives, which involves the mingling of assets. Conversely, they may ultimately decide to untangle them through a divorce, which creates a significant question for many people: How will my property get divided? At Empower Law Group, we appreciate and understand that property division is more than just the allocation of material assets; it’s about fairness, justice, and appropriately setting the stage for both parties’ futures. Therefore, we wanted to publish this blog to delve into property division in California divorces and how prenuptial agreements can affect the outcome. 

Property Division in California

Before we go into further detail, it is critical to state that California is a community property state. The guiding principle of a community property state is that, generally, all assets acquired during the marriage are considered communal and will be split evenly during the divorce process. However, certain factors such as the length of the marriage, the contributions made by each spouse, the overall value of the property, and any pre-existing agreements (i.e., pre and post-nuptial agreements) made by each spouse can tilt the balance. While an equal distribution of assets is the default, there are exceptions. 

Each case must be reviewed and assessed by an experienced law attorney before any specific exceptions can be singled out, but they are possible. For instance, there could be instances where one partner significantly out-contributed the other financially. Is that guaranteeing the marital property won’t be split precisely 50/50? No, but it does open the door to the possibility of it. 

The Marital Home & the Role of Prenuptial Agreements 

Homes fill the dual-sided role of being emotional and financial pillars for couples. They may be attached to the property due to a blend of both. In divorces, these homes can be sold so that the proceeds can be split or, depending on several factors, one spouse may retain more equity post-divorce. The house will be one factor of many as your attorneys negotiate and work through the division of assets. It will be discussed and assessed through the several factors mentioned in the previous section.

Another question people have about their homes is how they will be affected by their prenuptial agreement. In California, contracts entered into before marriage generally dictate how your property will get divided. That is by no means definitive and concrete, though. The court will respect the prenuptial agreement unless they’re found to be gravely unfair or were signed under questionable circumstances. You should consult an attorney when your spouse wants you to sign a prenuptial agreement. They will ensure you don’t sign something not in your long-term interest. If you signed one without speaking to legal counsel, convey this to your family law attorney. 

Next Steps 

Going through a divorce is a significant transition, and trying to divide your assets can make this time even more challenging. If you are about to divorce or contemplating signing a prenuptial agreement, you must surround yourself with the right support team. Schedule your consultation with the Empower Law Group, and let us guide you through it with compassion and understanding.

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Empower Law Group

My practice is entirely focused on helping families and children navigate the sometimes complex and often confusing world of family law, guardianships, domestic violence, reunification, and litigation. I bring compassion to my work and am dedicated to finding the proper resolution for you and your particular family law dilemma. I am accessible and meticulous about ensuring you receive the attention you deserve. We aim to empower you to create the next great chapter of your life.

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