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Property Division

San Jose Property Division Lawyer

In California, property accumulated during your marriage is community property and must be divided. Any property you owned prior to your marriage or after separation, or received during your marriage as a gift or inheritance, is separate property and is yours to keep. At The Law Office of Patricia M. McKinnie in San Jose, our lawyers will explain California's community property law and explain how asset and debt division works.

Examples of community property include stock and savings accounts, pension plans, 401(k) plans, real estate, jewelry, and home furnishings. While community property must be divided, this doesn't mean that every asset has to be divided equally. For example, if one party wants to keep a pension plan, the other party can be awarded a greater share of a savings account. Instead of spousal support, one party can award the other equity in a home, or some other asset. Whatever the two parties agree to is OK under California law, but the court must equalize the property division.

Some assets may contain a mix of separate and community property. For example, one party may supply a down payment on a house using separate property. While the house may be community property, the party who supplied the down payment would receive that separate property back before the community property is divided.

Our approach as lawyers is to try and settle community property disputes rather than litigate them. However, to protect your property rights, we sometimes have to involve the Court.

Did you know?

  • If you have a prenuptial agreement, that document will be used to determine how assets will be divided.
  • If you and your spouse/partner separate, any property accumulated after the date of separation, including investment gains, is separate property.
  • If you are unmarried, property division can be determined through a Marvin action in civil court.
  • The same property division rules that applied to married couples apply in the dissolution of a domestic partnership.
  • Property division can't be modified, unless one of the parties hid assets, or somehow deceived the other party about finances.


Myth: Property Settlement in California is always 50-50.

Fact: Assets aren't always split down the middle.


Free Consultation: San Jose prenuptial agreement lawyer Patricia M. McKinnie offers a free 30-minute initial consultation to discuss your family law matter. Call (408) 297-2922 or complete our family law case evaluation form.

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31 East Julian Street
San Jose, CA 95112

Phone: (408) 297-2922
Fax: (408) 287-1098

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