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What is community and separate property in divorce?

The divorce process raises a lot of questions and when the unfortunate time comes around it is easy to see why. Most couples who tie the knot have never expected to untie it. They are likely doing it after having amassed a life together (and all the assets that come with it) worry. One main area in which questions and assumptions arise in particular is asset and property division.

The principal question is this! Who will keep what? In order to get an idea of what the right answer is, a litigant can look first at whether the assets and property are classified as community or separate property.

What defines community and separate property

As may be evident from the context clues, community property is that which a couple owns together (assets either of them procured during the marriage). Separate property therefore is designated by what came before they tied the knot, or inherited or acquired during the marriage as a gift.

Two assumptions people make about property division

  1. If proven to be so classified, separate property automatically goes to the respective spouse: In fact, if certain separate properties have become intertwined in community property, to the point where it’s difficult to distinguish the separation, it can all be communal.
  2. Community property will be divided in a just and fair manner: There are actually plenty of factors that go into assets division. While an even split isn’t outside the realm of possibilities, many aspects of the couple’s relationships, as well as their individual circumstances, often weigh in to approximate a fair split.

Ultimately in a divorce, many decisions are up to the court, and as such, it is vital to have a legal professional on one’s side in order to advocate for their interests in the marital estate.