In any California divorce, property division can be a complicated matter that leads to dispute between the parties. This is especially true if it is a high-asset divorce in which items of significant value may be at stake. People might have a basic understanding of property division with community property and separate property. What can be confusing, however, is if the property is mixed. This is called commingling. Understanding this aspect of the law is essential during a divorce as it can be a crucial factor to fairly divide property from the marriage.
Potential examples of commingled property
People enter a marriage with things they own. This will be considered separate property in most cases. If there is an increase in value due to the work of both parties, then that increase could be considered marital property. If there is property that is part separate and part community, it is commingled. People may engage in disagreements as to whether a property should be categorized in this way as the divorce proceeding moves forward.
If, for example, one person owned something prior to the marriage and it was sold to accrue funds to buy a home for the couple to live in after the marriage, it is separate property because of where the money to buy it came from. If the parties share the responsibility of paying for a mortgage, its increase in value will belong to both sides. This is commingling. There are many other examples such as a business or a retirement account’s contributions following the marriage. These should be analyzed to determine how they will be divided in a divorce and if they are subject to commingling.
Having legal advice may be key with property division
Although custody concerns and support issues frequently come to the forefront in a California divorce, property division should not be ignored, particularly in a high-asset situation and the possibility that there is commingling. For help with achieving a fair split of the property or to protect items that a person does not believe should be shared, consulting with an experienced legal professional is imperative. Calling for advice and help from the start can help with property division and other parts of family law.