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A second look at marital property

Couples who file for divorce or legal separation often face the difficult task of dividing marital property. Some property and finances may be considered separate and could stay in the possession of the original owner once the divorce is finalized. Most marital property in California, however, is split equally between both parties. It is important for people to understand what is considered community property so that they can get everything they are entitled to in a divorce settlement.

Marital property, or community property, is more than just the family home, vehicle, life insurance policies, pensions, stock options and savings accounts. There are a myriad of items that may be eligible for division during a divorce. In fact, anything that is accumulated during the course of a marriage is community property. This includes expensive collections, such as antiques, horses, cars, coins and art. Intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks and royalties are also community property.

Other types of marital items include lottery ticket winnings, gifts given to one another during the marriage, country club and golf course memberships, frequent flyer points and travel rewards, as well as cemetery plots. If one party loaned money to another person during the marriage and the money is then repaid after the divorce is finalized, the other spouse may be entitled to half that amount as well. Although property and assets may be difficult to split up, as people may grow attached to certain items, it is essential to think of all types of property in order to ensure everything is taken care of.

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