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Understanding different types of property division

There are two forms of property division, In the United States depending upon where you live in. A few states follow "Community Property" laws, meaning that all property is defined as either separate property or community property. Separate property is solely owned by one spouse, and community property is owned equally by both spouses. Most states, such as California follow equitable distribution, meaning that the courts determine who deserves what, depending upon arrangements during the marriage.

Community property is typically property that has been collected through the course of the marriage. Separate property may include property owned before the marriage as well as pensions, inheritance, and other assets that were brought in. When in the process of a divorce, a judge will consider all factors of the marriage and divide up the property on your behalf. If one spouse, for example is the sole earner in the family and the other spouse stops his or her career to take care of kids, the judge may be inclined to split the property more evenly.

With regards to the home, if children are involved, the custodial parent will have an opportunity to stay in the home. If no children are involved, things can become more complicated. It is important to recognize that both soon to be ex-spouses have the right to stay in the home; if the two cannot come to an agreement, the courts will make a legally binding decision.

When you enter the courts for a divorce, it is important to have a firm understanding of your rights. It is not uncommon to be guilted or coerced into making decisions that are not in your best interests. Efforts should be made to try to work with your spouse; if that fails, go into court knowing what you want, and what you are entitled to, so the judge's decision does not come as a surprise.

Source: "Divorce Property Division FAQ," Accessed on July 11, 2017

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