Property Division

Property Division


Community Property

If you are considering a divorce in San Diego, property division will be a big part of the process. In California, all property acquired during the marriage is considered “community property” and should be divided equally between both parties. You are likely coming out of a long relationship, where you and your spouse have accumulated a lot of assets – such as your marital house, vehicles, and potentially other high-value property – and possibly some debt as well. This all factors into the property division equation.

Classifying Property

Assessing, evaluating and classifying all the property and liabilities acquired during the marriage can be very complicated. Generally speaking, marital assets are characterized as either community property – an asset acquired during the marriage, separate property – property acquired after the date of separation or prior to the date of marriage, or hybrid property – property that one party may have invested money acquired before the marriage in but that belongs to both spouses and has appreciation value.

Considering Time Prior to Marriage

Generally when it comes to property division, if you and your spouse lived together prior to your marriage, even for a very long period of time, the court will not take those years into account when assessing the assets and property you acquired as a couple. There could, however, be another lawsuit which could account for this period. Even though California law calls for the equitable division of property, that does not mean that all assets need to be liquidated, it just means that both parties should receive assets of the same value from the community property estate.

Complex Property Division


Complex Property Division issues arise when community property involves a business, and/or stocks and bonds, or if there is a dispute regarding community property classification. You are entitled to retain assets you acquired before marriage or inherited during your marriage and you are also entitled to a portion of assets gained during the marriage.

Family-Owned Businesses, Stocks and Bonds

Family-owned businesses, stocks and bonds complicate the division of property. If stocks and bonds come from the employer of one spouse, stocks and stock options can be considered income that should be used to determine spousal and child support payments.

Tax Law + Military Experience


Schaffer Family Law Group’s experience in San Diego complex property division matters, and in particular, Sarah Schaffer’s understanding of the nuances of tax law, make our family law attorneys particularly adept at working with high-net-worth clients when it comes to division of property.

In addition, our understanding of the military and work with dozens of military families also gives us particular insight into navigating the division of military retired pay for our clients.