By Shawn Weber, Attorney at Law

No. In California divorce law, it is important to distinguish “community property” from “separate property”. §761 of the California Family Code provides that “except as otherwise provided by statute, all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state is community property.” But, §770 of the California Family Code provides that separate property of a married person includes the following: (1) all property owned prior to the marriage; (2) all property acquired after the marriage by gift or inheritance; and (3) all rents, issues and profits of any separate property asset.

When a couple divorces in California, the court will divide all of the community property in half and award 100% of the separate property to its respective owner.  This means that if you own property prior to getting married it remains your separate property even after you break up. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you commingle your assets you can make an asset community property. Also, if you make a down payment on a piece of real estate with separate property funds prior to the marriage, but throughout your marriage you make mortgage payments from your community wages, your spouse will have a community interest in that property known as a Moore-Marsden interest, which is calculated with a formula based upon the amount of loan principal paid from community funds. However, you will get your separate property down payment back.

For a free consultation about your property and family law, call San Diego Attorney Shawn Weber at 858-410-0144.