The court is required to divide all community property assets and debts equally in all cases.
Separate property remains the property of the party and is not divided in the divorce. Separate property includes all property that was owned prior to the date of the marriage and all property acquired by inheritance or gift. Property acquired after the date of separation is also separate.
Community property includes personal property, bank accounts, investment accounts, real property, business assets and good will, retirement funds and pensions and intellectual property. Disputes arise in characterizing property as either community or separate and also in determining the value of assets such as stock options, art work and business good will. Another thorny issue involves commingled assets. Commingled assets commonly include real estate that was owned prior to marriage but paid for during the marriage, or a business owned prior to marriage, into which the community has invested either time or money.
CLICK HERE for a sample of Questions & Answers given in e-mail correspondence discussing property division issues.