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Does divorce in California involve property division?

When you are dividing property, debt and assets in a divorce, it is important to know exactly what the laws of California classify as property and break down the different definitions.

To begin with, you need to understand what property is. Property is anything that can be purchased or sold. Things such as a home, furniture, a vehicle and simple things like clothing can be classified as property.

Property can also be things like bank accounts, cash, the security deposit on a dwelling, a pension plan or 401(k) account, stocks, life insurance that has a cash value on it or even a business.

When you are in a divorce, the courts in California can make life-altering decisions for you. You may want to have an attorney present to guide you through this process because it can be complicated.

Even if the two of you agree on the property and asset distribution, the judge will want to review it for equality's sake. He or she has the right to change the arrangement if it is seen as not equal or appears out-of-balance.

The fact that the judge has to sign-off on this arrangement is the reason that he or she must review it and determine if you both agree. Until he or she signs off on the agreement, you both still own the property or asset.

The same is true for debts. You can divide them outside the court's jurisdiction but the debt isn't divided until the judge signs off.

Since California is a community property state, you and your spouse are the "community" that holds the property together. It makes two people one community.

Community property is everything you two own and owe together. If the money earned during the union paid for the property, it is considered community property.

Being informed is forewarned. You can know what to expect in a divorce if you do a little research and can answer some of those questions that come up in this type of case.

Source: California Courts, "Property and Debt in a Divorce or Legal Separation," accessed April. 06, 2015

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