California is a community property state, which means both partners must determine which property they own solely versus what is owned together in “community”. Sole property is that which an individual owned prior to the relationship, received as gifts, and/or inheritances. To determine what property should be divided, both partners should categorize all assets as sole or community, establish a value of the assets, and then determine the division.
The same should be done for debt owed by the couple. Any debt, such as student, or credit card debt that was incurred prior to the marriage or after a legal separation is the responsibility of the person who incurred the debt. In many cases, debt obligations can be divided, or offset by assets. This must be done carefully and thoughtfully. Remember that creditors need not honor a division of debt, meaning you may still be liable for the debt.
Contact FLAG PC today for help with matters related to property division in Alameda County and Contra Costa County. With offices in Oakland, I can help you through these challenges and ensure you are treated fairly during this process.