Family Law 101: Property
California is a community property state. This implies that each spouse has an undivided, one-half interest in any property acquired during the marriage while residing in California (Fam. Code § 760). The definition of community property generally applies to everything acquired during the marriage (e.g. assets, income, stock options, retirement interests as well as all debts incurred during the union), however assets and debts earned or incurred before the marriage, after separation, or earned during the marriage through gift or inheritance are considered separate. The date of separation is vital in the characterization of assets and debts. If the divorcing spouses cannot agree to a negotiated division of the community property, the court will order division.