2024 Who Gets the House in a Divorce in California?

One of the most difficult parts of the divorce process is figuring out how to divide assets between you and your spouse in a way that will make you both happy. The more assets you have, the harder the decision may be. A common point of dispute centers on who gets the house in the …

December 26, 2023

One of the most difficult parts of the divorce process is figuring out how to divide assets between you and your spouse in a way that will make you both happy. The more assets you have, the harder the decision may be. A common point of dispute centers on who gets the house in the divorce. You can’t be blamed for wanting to fight for your home in a divorce, and a California divorce lawyer can help you in your fight and make sure you understand the property laws in California.

Property Division Laws in California

California’s laws regarding property division are clear. California is one of the few states that follows community property rules. This means any property, assets, finances, and debts acquired during a marriage may be split evenly between spouses in the event of a divorce. It is important to note, though, that this may not be an exact 50/50 split, but the court will divide all assets fairly. Property division does include the house bought and shared during the marriage.

The other property division rule is separate property. This is any property or assets that were acquired by both spouses individually before marriage. Usually, this property remains separate throughout marriage and during divorce. However, if one spouse purchases a home before marriage but adds the other spouse’s name to the title or uses marital assets to pay the mortgage or make any improvements, the house can then be regarded as community property.

Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a marital agreement that is written and signed by both spouses, without force or coercion, before they get married. Generally, this agreement would address many financial and property matters, maybe even changing the nature of community and separate property. This could look like agreeing to make all separate property community property once married or agreeing to keep all property separate during the marriage.

In this case, a prenuptial agreement would overrule any community property laws. If one spouse purchases a house before marriage but agrees to make the house community property, this agreement would likely hold up in divorce court. The same is true if the agreement elects to keep all property separate.

Dealing With a Shared House

In California, it is common for both spouses to be awarded an equal share of the house in a divorce case if it is community property. You may need to find out what you can even do with 50% ownership of a house. Here are some options you have:

  • Buy out. A common solution to the shared house predicament is for one spouse to buy the other out. The spouse who buys will become the sole owner of the property.
  • Sell the house. Another option to consider is selling the house and dividing the profits. You can make an agreement about what percentage each of you will get or go for the simple 50/50 option.
  • Defer sale. The two of you can choose to remain co-owners of the house. This is common if there are younger children involved and you want to ease the effect of the divorce on them. The court will defer the sale of the house for a set amount of time.

FAQs

Q: Does a Husband Have to Support His Wife During Separation?

A: During a legal separation, it is possible for a husband to be ordered by the court to pay spousal support. Before making that decision, the court takes into consideration the income of both spouses, if there are any children, the living standard during the marriage, how both spouses contribute to the marriage (financially and non-financially), and other factors.

Q: Who Gets to Keep the House in a Divorce in California?

A: Who gets to keep the house is determined by California property laws and the court. If the house is community property, then it is likely you will both get an equal share of it. You can decide what to do with it together. In some cases, a house purchased before divorce can become community property or commingled property.

Q: Can a Spouse Kick You Out of the House in California?

A: There is a legal way for a spouse to kick you out of the house in California. The court can issue your spouse an ex parte order to exclude you from their home or a home you both share, thereby forcing you to leave the house. To get such an order, a few conditions must be met:

  • The spouse must show that they have a legal right to the premises.
  • The spouse must show that you have assaulted or threatened to assault them, your children, or someone else under the spouse’s care.
  • The spouse must show that physical or emotional harm may come to them, their children, or anyone else in their care.

Q: How Many Years Do You Have to Be Married to Get Alimony in California?

A: There are many factors taken into consideration when a court decides on awarding alimony, but the duration of marriage isn’t usually one. There is no minimum amount of time you have to be married to receive alimony in California, but the length of your marriage will affect how long you can receive alimony.

If you were married for less than ten years, you may only be allowed alimony for half the length of your marriage. To find out if you could be entitled to alimony and for how long, you are going to want to speak with an attorney.

The Law Offices of Hollie A. Lemkin, APC: Your Trusted Divorce and Property Division Attorney

Deciding on property and asset division during a divorce can be a complicated task for some people. The good thing is you don’t have to deal with this on your own. If you need help with property division, Contact the Law Offices of Hollie A. Lemkin, APC, to get assistance. We’ll help you figure out how to divide everything and let you know what options you have for shared property.

Call today to speak with Hollie A. Lemkin to discuss your questions & issues!

949-734-7300

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