Starting out with wedding gifts, to that first home and moving forward throughout the years, married couples in California accumulate a lot of assets. Although couples may start their married life in wedded bliss, some find that as time marches on, their marriage deteriorates to the point where getting a divorce is in their best interests. When this happens, the couple will face many divorce legal issues, including property division.
Some couples are able to work out a property division agreement out-of-court. However, until the agreement is approved by a judge, any marital property (and liabilities) are considered to be owned by both spouses. When negotiating a property division agreement, it is important to strive for equality, so that each party winds up walking away with property and liabilities that have an approximately equal value.
That doesn't mean, however, that each asset is actually split 50/50. For example, if a couple has a bank account, they need not divide the account 50/50. Instead, one party may be awarded the entire account, and the other party may be awarded something else of equal value. The same can be said with the couple's liabilities.
In the end, California courts want to see that any property division agreements divorcing couples come up with are fair to both parties. It may take a lot of negotiations for couples to reach a satisfactory property division agreement out-of-court. Sometimes, this simply cannot be done and the couple must turn to the court to make property division decisions. In either case, striving for equality can ensure that each spouse comes out of the divorce process with their fair share of the marital assets and liabilities.