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What Is "Separate Property?"

Posted By Center for Mediated Divorce || 14-Dec-2015

During a divorce, the courts will take into consideration the respective properties in the marriage – separate property and marital property. When you enter a marriage, everything becomes shared. It is not only limited to finances but also the home where you live. How do you determine what is separate property and what will remain yours in the event of a divorce?

How the Law Views Separate Property

By law, this means any funds or properties that belong solely to that spouse. It is usually not divided between spouses, and may include anything from homes to inheritances and gifts.

California defines separate property as the following:

  • Property owned before getting married
  • Property acquired by inheritance or gift
  • The profits accrued from ownership of that property
  • Property you bought with separate funds
  • Debts that were acquired before the marriage

If you hold ownership of your separate property, note that you can choose to sell the properties or invest it in ways that you see fit. Keep in mind that even separate property can be converted to community property, sometimes unwittingly. Let’s say, for example, you were given a $10, 000 check as a gift—this would be considered separate property. If you deposit that check into an account where you and your spouse hold equal ownership, then it becomes community property because it has been integrated into shared funds.

Have Questions? Call Us!

If you have any questions about separate property and how it applies to your situation, we urge you to contact our Irvine divorce attorney, Judith A. Williams, at the Center for Mediated Divorce. As one of the premier attorneys in divorce and family law matters in Orange County, she can help reduce some of the stress and frustration that divorce can bring.

We seek to resolve matters to the utmost of your satisfaction. To get started, call us for a free phone consultation at (714) 706-3992.

Categories: Divorce, Property Division

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