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The marital home and property division in California

In California, all of the property and assets that were acquired during a couple's marriage is considered to be community property and thus subject to equal division when the couple divorces. In many cases, one of the largest marital assets is the home in which the couple lived during the marriage. It can be difficult to determine how to deal with the house, but there are several different approaches people can take.

Sometimes, one spouse will want to be able to keep the house, especially in situations in which the couple has children. In those cases, it may be beneficial for the spouse who wants to remain in the home to try to reach a settlement with the other spouse in which he or she gives up other types of property in exchange for buying out the moving spouse's equity portion. If the couple have a mortgage on the home, the spouse who will receive the house will also need to refinance the mortgage in order to free up the moving spouse's credit.

Some couples may find it easier to simply sell the home and divide any equity between them out of the sale proceeds. One issue with doing this, however, is that many couples are in a rush to sell and thus may sell at a value much lower than the home is worth.

Negotiating a settlement regarding the division of marital assets may be difficult, especially when there is a lot of conflict between the divorcing spouses. Arriving at an agreement can be beneficial to all involved. If an agreement is not reached, the judge will decide how the property will be divided and the spouses may not be happy with the division they receive. If people are able to put aside their differences and negotiate a settlement, they may be better off in the long run.

Source:, "How to Divide Your House in a Divorce", Scott Sheldon, December 04, 2014

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