There are many issues that come up and are intertwined when you get a divorce. If you are in the process of separating and you have children, it gets even more complicated. If you are trying to get separate property out of the divorce, having children will make a difference. If the custody of children has been awarded to you and you are supporting them, you may find it easier to receive a positive outcome. Separate property would be assets that you owned before the marriage or were given to you because you were an heir and your relative passed away during the marriage.
If you don't have children involved in a marriage and you are going through divorce, the decision made by the court of the state of California will be fairly cut and dry. Many times, the court will find a positive outcome for you if you have children and need that separate property to use the funds to live on.
The best interests of the child are what needs to be in your mind. It is certainly will be what the court system will have in their mind. You need to be sure that your documentation is clear and that what you are saying to the judge can be backed up with written paperwork.
If you are going to have joint custody, you may not get your separate property free and clear. It really depends on what the court sees when they examine your proof that your ex-spouse can provide for the child when he or she has them. If you are asking for full custody, you stand a much better chance of getting your separate property awarded to you because you will need this to support your child.
Can you see how convoluted and confusing this can be? Having your research confirmed by a legal professional can be a big help.
Source: California Family Code, "Child custody," accessed Dec. 28, 2015