I was recently contacted by a gentleman who asked about dividing assets. I explained to him that generally the law provides that whatever assets and debts were acquired during the marriage (from the date of marriage until the date of separation) may considered community property. The gentleman was upset because he had accumulated much more retirement benefits through his employer during their short marriage and his wife had accumulated very little. He did not understand why he had to “share” his retirement with her.
California is a community property state. What this means is that the Court takes a “general stand” that anything that was acquired during the marriage is community property unless there is a prenuptial agreement or there is a separate property contribution made toward a community asset. This also means that each party is entitled to receive one-half of the asset. The total disposition of the asset will be decided by a Judge, if the parties are not able to reach an agreement.
The truth of the matter is, as I explained to the gentleman, that although the money came directly from one party’s paycheck every payday, the money was not going toward the family or the family’s expenses, it was going into a separate account on behalf of both parties. Therefore, it belongs to both parties and it should be equally divided when divorcing unless there are other credits/reimbursements to be given. Again, a Judge will decide that during Trial.
To obtain more information regarding your rights and obligations, contact the Law Office of Richard E. Bawden, Family Law Specialist for a consultation. We are located in beautiful downtown Redlands and serve family law clients throughout the Inland Empire(Riverside, San Bernardino, Yucaipa, Hemet, Banning, Beaumont, Rancho Cucamonga and the high desert).