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In a divorce, couples often come up with a plan to divide all the goods that they’ve accumulated during the marriage but they forget about the debt. People don’t often think about the debt as something to be divided, simply because it’s not talked about as often as “who gets the house.”
Both types of plans are subject to equal division of the community interest in the plan. But the methodology will be quite different for each type of plan (and, sometimes, both plans will be at issue in a give case).
California is one of nine states to practice the theory of community property in a marriage. The idea is that a marriage is like a partnership. The partners, although they may have different roles, are equal contributors to the marital community.
Much has been written about community property, a characteristic that causes an equal division between divorcing couples. But, just as important is the identification of property that is owned by one of the spouses which will not be divided in the divorce.
Separate property is property acquired before marriage, property received after the date of separation, inheritances, and gifts. Separate property is not divided in the divorce. Debts incurred before getting married or incurred after separating are separate property debts. Spouses are required to file proof of community and separate property on a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure.
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