Divorce can be complex. One complexity can involve the distribution of marital property, also referred to as the division of marital assets. In dividing property, there are two central issues: Is the property marital property or community property, and, if so, what is the value of the property?
Before value can be examined, there is an underlying question that must be answered: Is the property in question community property or separate property? Community property is subject to division in a divorce; separate property goes to the individual who owns the property and is not subject to division in a divorce.
Typically, assets brought into a marriage (e.g., a house or car) are separate property and assets purchased during a marriage are community property. However, the line gets a little murky when assets are co-mingled or community money is used to finance part of the separate property brought into the marriage.
For example, your spouse owned a home when you were married and still owns that home today. However, funds from the marriage were used to keep the house up, pay for improvements and make payments on the mortgage. In this case, the house will likely remain separate property, but you would still be entitled to half of the marital money that went into the payment, upkeep or improvement of the home.
If you are seeking a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, please seek counsel from an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure your interests are adequately protected and you have an advocate who will fight on your behalf for everything you are entitled to. Retaining an experienced family law attorney will ensure you have effective representation and fully understand your options.