Divorce - Division of Assets
Division of Assets and Debts
All “assets”, in other words, property, purchased during the marriage are presumptively community property, and will be divided equally, unless the spouse not wanting equal division proves that it is his/her separate property. If an asset which was acquired during the marriage was acquired by gift or inheritance, it is the separate property of the spouse who received the gift or inheritance. Spouses are also entitled to offset their separate property portion of an otherwise community asset. For instance, if the spouses purchased a piece of real estate during the marriage with a current market value (the court looks at the market value as close to time of trial as possible) of $225,000, and a debt of $150,000, the property’s “net” value, or the “equity” in the property, is $75,000 which, in most circumstances, must be divided equally between the parties. If one spouse wishes to continue to reside on the property, and can afford to pay the mortgage, s/he will usually refinance the property and take out the other spouse’s portion ($37,500) to pay the other spouse off that way. If neither party can afford the mortgage payments, they usually decide to sell the property and must divide the proceeds equally.