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Posted on Dec 8 on 2015

If you are thinking of divorcing from your spouse, the thought of what is going to happen to your property has probably crossed your mind. While many people are familiar with the idea of separate property and community property, people fail to consider the significant reimbursements that may affect the division of the marital estate. Below is a brief overview of common reimbursements:

1. Contribution to Separate property from Community- If you own property prior to your marriage and payments are made on that property from earnings during the marriage, the community is entitled to reimbursement for those payments.

2. Contribution to Community from Separate property- Alternatively, if you owned property before marriage and transferred title to the community, you would still be entitled to the value of your property at the time you transferred it to the community.

3. Use of Community Funds not for the benefit of the Community- Another example of reimbursements that are often overlooked are the use of community funds which are not for the benefit of the community. This would include spending money on an affair. Although California is a no-fault state, an affair would not be seen as an expense paid for the benefit of the community and the offending spouse could be liable to the community.

4. Exclusive use and enjoyment of marital property after separation- If you and your spouse own a house but your spouse moved out upon separation, you may be charged with one-half of the rental value of the marital residence. Whereas if you separated and lived together in the same home, there would be no reimbursement.

5. Payments made to maintain the marital estate after date of separation.

6. Student loans- Unless there is a substantial benefit to community, the community is entitled to reimbursement for payments made during the marriage.

7. Payment of alimony for prior marriage- Payment of spousal support to a prior spouse is often not considered a payment for the benefit of the community and will remain the separate debt of the debtor spouse.

There are a lot of factors and variations that may affect the above outcomes, including but not limited to, changes in property value, mixed contributions, changes in title, and waivers. To help you understand what your property rights are, contact Fred Silberberg, Esq. to discuss your potential exposure.

-Myle Nguyen

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