When going through divorce, it is important to understand how the courts will view assets and how assets get divided.
For this, you will need to understand two primary categories of property: community and separate.
What are community properties?
The Business Professor takes a look at community and separate properties. These are the categories that nearly all assets you own will fall under.
Community properties include assets shared by you and your spouse. Separate properties include everything that you own alone.
Examples of community properties include items that you and your spouse both spent money on, items purchased with the use of a joint bank account, and anything with both of your names on it. This often includes big purchases like cars and houses.
Separate properties and potential changes
Separate properties typically include anything that you owned before the marriage, gifts given to you directly, and inheritance that you received through the marriage’s lifespan.
Please note, however, that some separate properties may become community properties over time, depending on how you treat them. For example, if you put the money from your inheritance into a joint account that both you and your spouse own, it becomes community property.
If you decide to opt for mediation, then you and your spouse can likely work out an equitable division on your own terms. This means that you have more control over what you do or do not get.
Note that just about any asset division in divorce will involve some measure of compromise, however, so go into the process with that mindset.