Property division in divorce is one of the most contentious parts of the split itself. Especially for couples that do not have to worry about children, it is often the biggest source of stress.
How do properties get divided in divorce in the first place? What should divorcing couples know about their assets in these times?
Diffen discusses the division of property in a divorce. First, most states will divide property into two separate categories: separate and community.
Community properties are the ones that you have to worry about. These are the properties jointly owned by both members of the marriage, and they are the ones that will go through the division process.
These properties typically include things like land parcels, houses and cars. Anything with both of the spouse’s names on it counts, including jointly owned bank accounts.
Separate property, on the other hand, will typically remain left out of the division process with some exceptions. Separate property usually includes things like assets owned before marriage, anything gained during an inheritance, and anything gifted directly to one specific individual.
Some situations may transfer a separate property into a community one, though. This includes a person using separate assets to buy a jointly owned asset. It can even include depositing separate assets into a jointly owned bank account.
Because of the ability for separate assets to become community property, it would benefit both parties in a couple to understand how their own property should get categorized.