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Does California use equal division or equitable division?

You got married outside of California, but you lived here for 10 years before filing for a divorce. Now that your marriage is ending, you realize that you never considered how the divorce laws in the state may be different than they were where you got married.

When it comes to property division, your main concern during this split should be whether you expect it to be equal or equitable. What is the difference anyway?

California is a community property state. In the eyes of the state, this means that your marital assets belong to you and your spouse equally. If you have separate property, you may keep it yourself, but most of what you acquired during your marriage is marital property.

This means that it gets split up equally. Even if you were the sole breadwinner and technically earned all of the money, for instance, that money could still get split right down the middle between you and your spouse since it's marital property.

Equitable division may also be equal, but it may not. Other states, like Michigan and Florida, use this process. It just means that the judge determines how a fair split would work. It doesn't have to be even. If you argued that you earned all of the money and deserved to keep most of it, if the judge thought that was fair, you could get it. This does not happen in California, though, since it uses community property laws.

It's important to understand these differences, especially when coming from another state with different laws, and to know how they impact your rights during divorce.

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