Aside from maybe child custody, property division is usually one of the most hotly contested issues couples face during divorce – specifically regarding who gets control of the family home and car. In the state of California, couples are given the freedom to decide this on their own. If the parties cannot agree, however, the property will be divided by the Superior Court within their divorce decree.
California is a community property state, meaning that all community property and debts that are acquired during marriage, including real estate and vehicles, are considered to be the joint property of both spouses and are distributed equally. With that being said, any property that was acquired before the date of marriage or after the date of separation may be classified as separate property and considered the sole property of one spouse.
How Exactly Are These Assets Split?
If your home or vehicle was acquired during the course of your marriage, both you and your spouse will have an equal claim to its ownership. But how exactly do you equally divide a house or car? Simply put: you can’t. Since not all property can be physically split, you will both instead have a claim to half of its value. Usually, this will involve the party who receives the house or car to essentially “buy out” the other spouse’s ownership interest by paying them for their share.
For example, say you and your spouse own a car that is worth $15,000. If your spouse is awarded control of the car, they will have to pay you $7,500 or give you control of an equivalent value of marital assets as compensation for your loss of use of the vehicle. The same concept applies to real estate.
Do Title Deeds Have an Impact?
In many states, the name on a house or vehicle’s title will have a vast impact on who will gain control. In California, however, the title is not the only deciding factor. If community funds were used to pay for property, it may be considered to be the joint property of both spouses – even if it is only titled in one spouse’s name.
Given the multitude of factors which can impact who gets what, it is highly recommended you consult with a skilled attorney to understand your legal options. If you and your spouse have decided to split or are already well into the process of divorce, contact Gill Law Group, PC today. Backed by a 10.0 “Superb” Avvo Rating and many glowing client testimonials for our unparalleled legal knowledge and client satisfaction, we have what it takes to help you navigate through this uncertain time with ease.