How property will be divided is a common concern to have during the divorce process. Knowing how the property division process works in California can help divorcing couples be better prepared to negotiate their property division settlement agreement.

Property is divided in California during divorce according to community property division rules. Community property division rules mean that marital property is divided in half during divorce. Marital property is typically the only property that is subject to the 50-50 division process during divorce. It is generally defined as property and assets acquired during the marriage. Unlike separate property, which includes property one spouse entered the marriage with, inheritances, gifts and personal injury awards, and is not generally subject to the property division process, marital property is subject to the division process.

Property can include cars, homes, household appliances and furnishings and clothing. It can also include security deposits on apartments; bank accounts and cash; retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans and pension plans; stocks and investment portfolios; life insurance that has cash value; and a patent. Complex and high-value assets including art or a business owned by the couple may require professional valuation services to ensure they are properly valued and fairly divided.

Whatever property the couple has accumulated during the course of their marriage, understanding how property is divided in California during the divorce process is valuable information for couples to have. Couples should enter their divorce prepared for the property division process and how they can protect their interests.