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Don't give up more than you have to during divorce in California

The main thing to know about marital property division in California is that it falls under the laws of community property. Community property essentially means that any assets gained during your marriage are shared equally between you and your spouse regardless of the person who first received them.

In some cases, this can be complicated. People may not have contributed equally to the marriage, yet the law requires the couple, if they go to court, divide their assets as equally as possible.

As the person who has contributed most financially to your marriage, this can be a devastating blow to your personal savings and assets. However, you have options.

While state law requires an equal distribution of marital assets, it doesn't affect assets that are separate. For example, if you have an inheritance that hasn't be commingled with your shared accounts, then it may not be part of the property division process.

You and your spouse also have the ability to decide different arrangements for the divorce. For instance, if your spouse is aware that they've not contributed much to the marriage, they may be willing to sign a property division arrangement that leaves them with a fair amount of assets but not an equal share. For some couples, doing what is fair is more important than getting half of everything, and that's possible to arrange.

In other cases, you may be able to use certain assets as leverage, even though they may not be worth an equal amount as others. Animals, for example, are often divided between owners. If your spouse wants them all, then this could be a good negotiating point.

Our site has more on negotiating your high-value divorce. Complex property division can be frustrating, but with support, you can come up with a fair settlement.

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