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Property division, community and quasi-community property

In a San Francisco divorce, people are prone to having disputes about myriad issues. Most will think about child support, child custody and alimony. These are undoubtedly critical in a divorce proceeding. Still, property division frequently comes up as a challenging aspect of the case. California is a community property state meaning that, in general, any property that the couple accrues after they have gotten married will be shared. The same holds true for debt. However, there is some nuance that could be confusing with community property and quasi-community property.

Understanding what is meant by these terms will be a fundamental part of a case. Community property is relatively simple to grasp. It is property the couple owns jointly. If they both worked and earned income during the marriage, bought a home, a car or other items, then this will belong to both in the divorce and must be split. The same is true for debt. Any debt accrued after marriage must also be shared. A key exception with property division is a gift, an inheritance, was owned individually before the marriage, or was acquired with separate funds during the marriage.

Quasi-community property may be a term some are unfamiliar with. This is a property was acquired by one or both parties when they resided in another state and it would have been categorized as community property had they lived in California at the time it was acquired. For example, if the couple purchased a home in a different location, then it belongs to both sides in the divorce and will be divided as such.

People in California who are getting a divorce and believe items they acquired belong to them without a threat of splitting it in property division are sometimes surprised to find that it might not the case. This is especially confusing if the person was under the impression that a property bought in another state was not subject to the laws of California if the divorce is filed there. To avoid making costly errors due to a misunderstanding of the law for property division, community property and quasi-community property, having legal assistance may be essential.