Divorce: What You Should Know About Community Property
One of the most sensitive areas of a divorce proceeding is the apportioning of property. Now that you and your spouse have established your irreconcilable differences, here is what the law states when it comes to defining your property and sharing. A property lawyer is essential during the proceedings.
All the property you and your spouse have acquired during your married life is what is referred to as community property. Some examples of such property include money earned by both you and your spouse, all furniture purchased during the period of your marriage as well as interests and income earned from businesses and investments. Your mortgagees and family home(s) also form part of the community property.
All your assets earned before marriage are yours; your spouse has no legitimate claims. All properties and money received as a gift to you personally during your marriage also belongs to you entirely. In case you were able to acquire property while being separated from your spouse, that property belongs to you alone. If during the course of your marriage you were awarded damages or compensation as a result of personal injury by another party, the proceeds belong to you alone. Any property you acquire after dissolution of the marriage is also yours alone.
Partial Community Property
In some instances, property that you thought was separate can be deemed partial community property. Property owned before your marriage--separate property--will be termed marital property if it has been co-mingled with marital property. Consider, for instance, that you inherited money when you were married. If the inherited amount was deposited into a joint account or if you deposited marital funds into an inheritance fund then there was comingling, and the money can no longer be separate property. Although you may argue that as much as your inheritance was deposited in a marital fund you had no intention to share the same, the burden of proof is very high for your lawyer.
Division Of Property
Community property is not split on a 50/50 basis. In making the determination of how to split such property, the judge considers marital fault, age difference, earning disparities, loss of continued benefit and custody of children.
The judge will determine whose fault it is that the marriage has ended. If it is as a result of infidelity, the judge will not be lenient on the aggressor. In case of age difference, the court will not frown much on the younger spouse nor will it be too generous to the retiring spouse. If you have been granted sole custody of your children and earn less than your spouse, the court will likely grant you more property. Where you stand to lose continued benefit as a result of divorce, the judge may also rule in your favour.
For more information, contact a law firm, such as David Gibbs & Associates.