Compassion In Practice

Marital property division: Your rights as a stay-at-home spouse

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2022 | DIvorce

Marriage involves compromise. You may decide to be a stay-at-home mum or dad to care for the children while the other spouse provides for the family financially. Sometimes, this means giving up your promising career or education opportunities.

In the event of divorce, will you get less than your spouse since you were not working? Here is how things play out in California.

California is a community property state

As a married couple in California, it doesn’t matter who earned what during your marriage. When dividing property, all marital assets are considered joint property and both spouses are treated equally.

However, personal property or assets such as inheritance or gifts acquired before the marriage still belong to the individual and are not up for division.

In the absence of a valid legal agreement on how property will be divided upon divorce, like a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the division of the marital estate is equal. Even if you were a stay-at-home spouse during the marriage, you would still be entitled to an equal stake, similar to your spouse’s.

Protecting your financial interests during the divorce

Divorce is likely to affect your finances, and it is crucial to ensure you get what you deserve at the end of it all.

In some cases, the working spouse may feel more entitled to assets and property you jointly own and may attempt to hide or misappropriate them. When this happens, you need to know what the law says and the legal options in safeguarding your interests.

You may not have been going to work, but your indirect contribution to building the marital estate is equally important and should not be overlooked.