What is “marital property” in the asset division part of divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2020 | Divorce, Family Law

When couples in California are going through a divorce, there are oftentimes many different legal terms they need to become familiar with. In the asset division part of a divorce case, the terms “marital property,” also known as “community property,” are examples of such terms. So, what is “marital property” in the asset division part of a divorce case in California?

In a simple sense, marital property includes all assets that the two individuals accumulated as a married couple and commingled. However, from a practical standpoint, just because an item of property was purchased with jointly used funds and is stored at the family home doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a point of contention during a divorce. For example, if the wife has an exercise machine that she uses everyday and the husband never uses, while the husband is the only one who mows the yard with the expensive riding lawnmower, the couple may not argue over who gets what, even though that property is likely to be considered marital property.

The real arguments in the asset division part of a divorce case in California start over identifying what, exactly, is marital property. If, for example, one of the spouses owned property prior to the marriage, the property has been kept separate from the family finances and the property has never been commingled with jointly held assets, that particular property may not be included in the marital property to be divided. There may be a certain amount of subjectivity to these arguments, however, which is where the contention between the soon-to-be ex-spouses can arise.

Understanding the legal term “marital property” and how the asset division part of a divorce case will play out is crucial for California residents who are preparing to go through a divorce. Our readers may benefit from getting more information about their own unique situation.