Asset Division in CA: What Happens to Debt After the Divorce?

Pleasanton CA divorce attorneyIs divorce looming in your future? If so, you’ve likely considered the financial side of things as well. Namely, how should the family property be split, and perhaps just as importantly, what about shared and individual debt? 

The asset division process in CA treats debt very similarly to assets. Since California is a community property state, this means that assets and debt are divided into two buckets: community and separate assets/debt. The outcome of who takes what often depends on whether your debt is considered to be community, or shared debt, as opposed to separate debt.

  • Community Debt refers to any financial obligations or forms of debt that were acquired or accumulated after the union was established. Note that this also includes any individual debt that a person racks up on their own while being married. Community debt is typically divided equitably among both parties, which means that you’ll both be on the hook.
  • Separate Debt described debt that was accrued before the legal marriage was established, or after a couple separates formally. This type of debt is fully owned by the individual who accrued it, and thus is often not part of the asset division process in California.

How the Date of Separation is Established

Considering that the duration of the marriage is the defining factor between community and separate debt, it is important for the courts to establish the exact date of separation. This isn’t always a straightforward matter, and the CA family law courts look at the following two factors when there is any vagueness or uncertainty:

  1. The date which the couple became physically separate, such as sleeping in different residences, rooms, etc.
  2. The date when one or both individuals makes the intent to end the marriage clear.

The process of asset division in CA can have long-term ramifications on your financial future. This applies to debt just as much as it applies to assets. Thus, you should never move forward with asset division, or any other divorce procedures, without the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. 

Learn more about how we at the Law Offices of James P. White can help with any divorce or family law matters in CA. Call us at 925-271-0999 today to schedule a initial consultation.