Division of Property and Debts:

1. What is community property?

Almost any property accumulated during a marriage is community property except property received as a gift or inheritance. There are other exceptions, which can be explained to you by your attorney.

2. What is separate property?

Separate property is most property that a spouse acquired before marriage, after marriage, or during marriage by gift or inheritance. It is not considered part of the marital estate, and therefore is not divided and shared with the other spouse. Please note that separate property may be changed or "transmuted" into community property during marriage. Ask your attorney to explain this to you.

3. How is community property divided in California?

Unless there is a written agreement (or an oral agreement made in court) between the spouses, the court will usually make an equal division of all community property assets and debts. An equal division need not give exactly the same property to each spouse. For example, the court can give a couch worth $500.00 to one spouse but balance it out by ordering that spouse to pay a $500.00 credit card bill. The court can also order the division of the proceeds as gained from the the sale of property sold and money received from the sale divided.

4. I attended college throughout the course of my two-year marriage. I have accumulated significant student loans during this period of time. Will the court order my spouse be required to pay back my student loans?

Loans for one spouse's education and training will usually be considered the separate obligation of the spouse who benefited from the education. This is particularly true in marriages of short duration. There are exceptions to this practice, which should be explained to you by your attorney.



Law Offices of Robert Bettencourt


981 Osos Street

San Luis Obispo, California 93401