The Difference Between Marital and Separate Property


Part of the process of dissolving a marriage involves dividing marital property. However, while some items may be straightforward and relatively simple to divvy up, others may not be. Continue reading to learn more about the difference between marital property and separate property.

Marital Property Versus Separate Property

California is a community property state, which means that, during a divorce, all marital property is divided as equally as possible. Of course, determining which property is separate and which is marital is typically where problems may arise. Typically, property that a spouse owned before the marriage is considered separate and is not subject to division.

Below are some examples of separate property:

  • Gifts you received during or before the marriage
  • Inheritances you received during or before the marriage
  • Property acquired by a spouse using separate property with the express intention of continuing to keep it separate
  • Personal injury awards you received during or before the marriage for pain and suffering
  • Property and assets you obtained during the marriage in your name and never used for the benefit of your spouse
  • Property you agreed to keep separate in a marital agreement, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

Marital property is typically anything you obtained during your marriage, such as your income, a car, investments, and retirement assets. It does not matter if your name is the only name attached to an account or asset. Moreover, this applies to debts as well. Even if some of the debts you racked up during your marriage were done with a credit card that was only in your spouse’s name, you will likely be responsible for half of these debts, unless a judge believes your spouse wastefully dissipated assets.

Speak to Our Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney About Your Divorce Case Today!

If you decided to file for divorce, the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff can provide the knowledgeable legal representation you need to protect your interests and property. Our attorney has been guiding clients through the divorce process for more than three decades and is backed by a history of successful results, so you can feel confident when you choose to work with us.

Reach out to our law firm today at (805) 633-4999 to request a free initial case review with our skilled family law attorney to learn more about the services we provide and how we can help you.

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