These items of property may consist of a house or other real estate, vehicles, household furnishings, retirement plan contributions, or anything else that has monetary value. In some marriages a significant amount of property is acquired while in others the amount and value of marital property may be minimal.
Most couples also accumulate debt during the marriage. This can include home mortgages, car loans, and credit card debt. In virtually all cases dividing the accumulated marital property and debt is something that needs to be accomplished as part of the divorce.
In California, property acquired during the marriage (other than by gift or inheritance) is considered to be community property and is generally divided equally upon a divorce. Debts incurred during the marriage are generally considered to be community property obligations and upon divorce, these are also divided equally.
While determining the extent and value of the community property and debts may be a relatively simple task, sometimes this process can be more complex. There can also be significant tax issues associated with dividing marital property. It is a good idea to have an experienced family law attorney review all aspects your financial situation at your earliest opportunity should you be facing a separation or divorce.