What is the Difference Between Community Property and Separate Property

Pierre Domercq Divorce

What is the difference between community property and separate property in a Carlsbad or North County divorce? Why does the distinction between separate property and community property matter? The short answer is found in the division of the property during a divorce. Community property is generally divided fairly equally between the parties under California law. Separate property is not subject to division during a divorce, per se.
Generally speaking community property relates to any asset acquired by the couple during their marriage, or any asset supported by marital funds. Separate property is an asset one of the parties owned prior to the marriage, as well as some forms of inheritance, as long as it is kept totally separate and distinct from marital funds and assets. Therein lies the heart of many disputes during a Carlsbad or North County divorce.
For example, if one spouse owns a business prior to entering the marriage and the other spouse owns a house these assets enter the marriage as “separate” assets. If the spouse who owns the business keeps it entirely separate from commingling with marital funds and doesn’t use any marital property or money to support it, the business will remain a separate asset. However, lets say the house owned by the other spouse was a rental property. During the course of the marriage the property needed repairs and updates and marital funds were used to accomplish these things.
The rental house then becomes a “blended” asset – part separate property and part community property. The issue that often becomes disputed is how much of the value of the asset is “separate” and how much of it is “community?” These calculations can become quite complex, and determining the actual value of the separate property before the infusion of marital capital, and the growth in value or equity after requires expert analysis.
The experienced divorce attorneys at Burke & Domercq provide sound advice and counsel in these matters. What is the difference between separate property and community property? How will our assets ultimately be divided? How will the community property interest in the business be offset so that the company doesn’t have to be sold? We invite you to contact us or call 760-712-3741 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys.