3 steps to dividing property

You may already know that dividing assets and debts is part of the divorce process, but do you know how California divides the property? California is a community property state. This means the courts try to divide everything equally.

The term property, however, does not mean only physical possessions. Property is anything that you can assign a value to. Here are three things you and your spouse can do to make dividing the property easier.

1. Make a list

Do you and your spouse own several real estate properties? The courts may divide your primary residence, second home, land and vacation homes. Make a list of all properties you own and their location. Art, cars, stocks, pensions and life insurance also count as property.

You must assign fair market value to everything you list.

2. Decide between community and separate property

When making the list of properties, divide them into community property or separate property. Separate property is an asset owned before the marriage or received after the date or marriage as a gift or inheritance. Community property is everything you and your spouse owned during the marriage.

3. Write the agreement

You and your spouse can write up an agreement you each feel is fair. When dividing the assets and debts, separate everything as equally possible so that you each end up with roughly the same value of property and debt.

Although the court makes the final decision, showing the judge how you and your spouse would like the assets and debts divided may make the process faster.