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Murrieta Property Division Lawyer

Helping Clients With Property Division in California

In California, the division of property after a divorce is one of the most contentious parts of the process. While the law in California is designed to protect a spouse's financial interests, there is a great deal of leeway for the parties to work out their own property division agreement.

Contact an experienced attorney online or by calling (951) 900-3342 for help with property division in your divorce.

How Is Property Divided in California?

The California property division process is governed by common law and prenuptial agreements.

Common Law and Marital Property

Under common law, any asset or debt acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and will be divided between the spouses upon divorce. However, the law provides certain exceptions, such as:

  • Property acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage;

  • Property acquired by a spouse before the marriage;

  • Property acquired by a spouse through the performance of his or her separate property (for example, wages earned before the marriage);

  • An increase in value of separate property, if proven by the owner; and

  • Property acquired by a spouse by his or her sole effort or industry, if proven by the owner.

Role of Prenuptial Agreements in Divorces

Prenuptial agreements are contracts entered into before the marriage that detail how property acquired during the marriage will be divided in the event of a divorce. As with all contracts, they can be negotiated to include specific property or property types that will be divided in the event of a divorce.

How Is Property Divided if There Is No Agreement?

California is a "community property" state. This means that all property, assets, and debts acquired during the marriage are considered marital property, and will be divided between the spouses upon divorce.

Dividing Property in California

California is an "equitable distribution" state, which means that the property will be divided in a fair and equitable manner, though not necessarily equally. The court will consider several factors, including:

  • The duration of the marriage;

  • Each spouse's contribution to the acquisition of property;

  • The value of the property;

  • Any increase or decrease in value of the property during the marriage;

  • Any economic hardships suffered by either spouse resulting from the division of property; and

  • Any marital misconduct (adultery, cruelty, etc.)

Marital Property vs. Separate Property in California

Property acquired during the marriage (marital property) will be divided between the spouses, while separate property (property owned before the marriage) will remain with the owner following a divorce.

What is Separate Property?

Separate property includes:

  • Property acquired by a spouse before the marriage;

  • Property acquired by a spouse by gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance;

  • Property acquired by a spouse through the performance of his or her separate personal services (for example, wages earned before the marriage);

  • An increase in value of separate property, if proven by the owner; and

  • Property acquired by a spouse by his or her sole effort or industry, if proven by the owner.

What is Marital Property?

Property acquired during the marriage (marital property) will be divided between the spouses, while separate property (property owned before the marriage) will remain with the owner following a divorce.


Contact an experienced attorney online or by calling (951) 900-3342 for help with property division in your divorce.


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