Community Property: California is a “community property” state, which means that absent a premarital agreement assets and debts acquired during your marriage will be divided equally when you divorce. But not all property is considered “community property.” For example:
- Assets and debts you had before you married will be considered “separate property” if you kept that property separated from property acquired during the marriage.
- The income produced by a separate property investment is also separate property, as long as it hasn’t been “commingled” – mixed together with community money
- Property you inherit from your family during your marriage will generally be considered your own separate property if it was willed exclusively to you and you did not commingle it with community assets during the marriage.
Real Property: If you own real property prior to the marriage that property remains your separate property. However, unless you have a premarital agreement payments on the principal on mortgages after marriage may result in the community acquiring reimbursement rights or an equity stake in the property on divorce.