Getting married and creating a life with someone means there’s a lot of stuff you’re going to share. Some of these things are emotional—love, dreams, memories. Others are more tangible—a roof over your heads, a car, and if you’re lucky, maybe a vacation home.
When you decide to get a divorce, one of the more difficult things can be determining how to divide your property. If you choose mediation instead of a traditional divorce, a good mediator can help you work out an arrangement that works for both spouses. However, it’s important you cooperate with the mediator and your spouse in order to achieve the best possible outcome. It’s also important you understand California law.
Community property law in California
Not every state treats property in a divorce in the same manner. In California, the law states that all property acquired during the marriage is owned by both parties equally. However, certain exceptions are considered separate property. Property that is considered separate in California includes:
- Property you owned before the marriage
- Property acquired after separating
- Property that was a gift or that you inherited during the marriage
If you wish to maintain your property after divorce, you should be able to provide the documents necessary to prove the property is yours and has not been commingled or mixed in with your spouse’s property.
How to approach property division with your mediator
Mediation can make property division less stressful because the idea is to work together to reach an agreement that suits both you and your spouse. In order to have a successful mediation, you should keep some of these tips in mind:
- Be honest and fair. Mediation is not for people who wish to hide things or get revenge. Come to the table with sincerity and honesty and your chances of success are higher.
- Communicate openly about property you feel strongly about. If there is something you absolutely cannot part with, express your desires openly and honestly from the beginning.
- Present documents. If you believe something should be considered separate property, it’s important to have documents to back it up. Important documents can include bank statements, bills, contracts, titles and deeds.
Dividing property during a divorce can be a stressful process and any mistakes can cost you dearly. For this reason, it helps to speak with an experienced family law mediator who understands the ins and outs of California property law before making important decisions about your divorce.