Marital Property Dissolution
Community property, consisting of both debts and assets, is divided equally between the parties. Determining what property is community and what property is separate, is sometimes complicated, and often requires the assistance of a forensic accountant, hired either jointly by the parties or separately by each party.
Property is valued on the date of trial, with some exceptions. The most common exception is a business run by just one spouse. In that case, the business may be valued at the date of separation rather than the date of trial.
Community property is all property which is acquired during marriage by earnings or efforts of either party or as a gift to both parties. Community property includes real property, savings, deferred compensation, intellectual property, and other forms of property. It also includes debt incurred during marriage by either party for any marital purpose.
If a business is started during marriage, the entire business would be considered community property. If a business is started before marriage but grows during marriage, part of it may be community and the amount of the community interest will be determined during the dissolution process.
Property which is not community property is considered separate property. Separate property is all property belonging to just one party either because it was earned before marriage or after separation, gifted to just one party, or inherited by just one party. A premarital agreement may establish that there be no community property, only separate property.