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Division of Assets/Debts

Normally, separating couples can work out a separation of property that they both feel is fair. But remember, until a judge signs off on your agreement and issues a final order, your community property and debts still belong to the two of you and do not become separate even if you have agreed on how to divide them between yourselves.

When you divide your property and debt, you should come up with an agreement that divides everything fairly equally, so that you each end up with roughly the same value of your property (and debt). Dividing your property does not necessarily mean a physical division.

For example, if you and your spouse or partner have 2 bank accounts, you do not have to split one account down the middle, split the money, and then do the same with the other account. Instead, you can see if the accounts have more or less the same amount of money. If they do, one spouse can agree to take over one account and the other spouse takes the other account. If, in this same example, one account has a lot more money than the other, one spouse can keep the bigger account, and the other can keep the smaller account but also get something else that, together with the money in the smaller account, adds up to roughly what is in the bigger account.

You can also use debt to balance out someone getting more of the property.

For example, if a spouse or a domestic partner is taking something with a high value, like a house in which there is equity (value), it may be possible to equalize or balance out the division by giving that spouse or domestic partner the credit card debt.

Keep in mind that when you divide your property and debt, you are looking to come up with a roughly equal “net” share. This means that you add up the value of all of the property (assets) and then subtract the total amount of debt. What is left is the net value of the community estate to be divided between the parties.

For further information visit http://www.courts.ca.gov/1254.htm


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