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What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in California?

California divorces are relatively straightforward concerning the parameters for property division, spousal support, and other settlement matters. However, the application of these laws can often be quite complex. If you are seeking a divorce or are caught in the middle of a petition for divorce, it is highly recommended that you speak with a qualified and skilled divorce attorney.

Rancho Cucamonga Divorce Attorney

The team at All American Law has a strong background in all matters of family law, and we can offer sensitive and private legal counsel. Whether you are the one seeking the divorce or not, we can advise you on the proper next steps, help you negotiate settlements, and represent you in court if necessary. With comprehensive knowledge of family law and extensive experience in divorce cases, a Divorce Lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, is ready to offer personalized care for the particular needs of your case.

What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce?

In California, both spouses are treated equally, and the courts will attempt to provide an equitable division of all property, assets, and debt. While a wife is not, by default, treated with any unique or favorable treatment, it is historically true that wives tend to receive additional compensation as part of the settlement. Generally, wives can expect to receive any or all of the following:

  • Half of all community property
  • Spousal support
  • Child custody and child support

California Community Property Rules

California legal codes differentiate between separate property and community property. Separate property refers to all assets owned prior to the marriage. Although you may not receive it at that time, this also includes any inheritance. However, community property includes any assets, property, and debts acquired during the marriage. In fact, it does not legally matter who acquired the asset or debt, as it is always presumed to be communal.

This also includes property, such as a home or a business, which may have been owned prior to the marriage but in which the other spouse contributed substantial equity. In that case, the court may choose to award a percentage of the equity to the other spouse in the divorce.

All community property is subject to a 50/50 split between both parties. This also includes any debt, as both parties assume equal liability for debt acquired during the marriage. It is possible to retain certain property, such as a home, provided that the settlement outlines an agreement for one spouse to buy the other out of their portion of the property. This means that you can keep your house if you pay your spouse for their half of its value.

Spousal Support

In some cases, courts may require a spouse who earns a larger wage to pay a monthly amount to the other to help them reach stronger financial stability on their own. While spousal support is not a requirement, in most cases, it is rehabilitative, meaning that the intent is to offer support for as long as it takes to establish financial security.

This may mean affording them a chance to complete their education or allowing them time to complete job training. Generally, for marriages less than 10 years old, spousal support will be awarded for no more than half the duration of the marriage.

Child Custody and Child Support

If the marriage included children, the courts will have to approve or decide on a viable custody arrangement. If one spouse is awarded sole physical custody, the other will likely owe child support, as the court sees it as both parents’ responsibility to provide for the needs of the child.

FAQs About What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in California

How Are Assets Divided in a California Divorce?

Divorces in California are generally subject to a 50/50 split of all community property. Any asset, debt, or property acquired during the marriage is considered community property. Certain gifts and inheritances are some of the few exceptions, however. While the court will always attempt an equitable division, it won’t always work out to be exactly even. For higher-valued property, like homes, the court will either sell it and evenly disperse the proceeds or balance out the assets divided.

What Assets Are Protected in Divorce in California?

As all community property is subject to division, the only assets protected in a divorce are: 

  • Those that are protected by a prenup
  • Inheritances
  • Certain gifts
  • Any separate property that was acquired before the marriage in which your spouse has not contributed substantial equity

This means that anything that was legally yours outside of the marriage remains yours. However, California’s community property laws can be quite inclusive. Partnering with a qualified attorney can help you protect more of your property.

What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in California?

A wife is entitled to an even distribution of community property and, depending on the circumstances of the marriage, may also be entitled to additional spousal support. The intent of the court will be to ensure that neither party is adversely affected financially by the divorce. Therefore, it may require the higher-earning spouse to pay a monthly allotted amount to ensure that a comparable standard of living is maintained.

How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Half of Everything in California?

California courts do not consider the duration of the marriage when dividing property. Instead, it will evenly split all community property that was acquired during the marriage. This means that how long you were married matters far less than what property was acquired while you were married. A couple may only have been married for a year, but if they purchased a home and started a business in that time, they will have more assets that must be split between them.

Contact a Qualified California Divorce Attorney Today

By reaching out to the team at All American Law, you can have a stronger opportunity to reach the most favorable outcome in your divorce. Let us help you know your rights and defend your interests. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.

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