When a California couple decides to divorce, property division is a common source for dispute. Often, it takes some time to determine which party owns what and has the right to retain what property at the end of a marriage. While many items belong to one or the other, there are some properties that are part community property and belong to both and part separate property and belong to one of the spouses. This is known as commingling. It means the properties have gotten mixed. During the divorce process, it is important to understand how commingled property can impact the situation.
For example, if one spouse was the owner of a home prior to getting married and it was sold with the proceeds from the sale used to purchase a marital home, the down payment is separate property because it was accrued by the one spouse selling a property that belonged to him or her prior to the marriage. After the new property is bought, the value increase will be community property. This also holds true for other assets like retirement accounts. Contributions prior to the marriage are separate property. Contributions after the marriage are community property. Once the couple parts ways, then it will revert to separate property.
Pensions can be a complex issue when determining who owns it and what part of it is commingled. Given the likelihood that a pension has significant value, both parties will want an accurate assessment of how much each is entitled to. There will be a court order known as a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) as to how it will be divided. This is a special rule for the pension and it is important to have legal advice when facing this issue.
Divorce legal issues can be difficult to navigate and cause concern for each side. This is especially true when there are properties that both sides claim to have a right to retain and have entered commingling status. To address this issue and its complexities, having legal assistance is a must. A law firm that helps people with all aspects of their divorce should be contacted for guidance regarding this area of property division.