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San Jose Divorce Attorney > Blog > Divorce > California Community Property Laws And Brief Marriages

California Community Property Laws And Brief Marriages


California is one of only nine states, all of which are west of the Mississippi River, that divide marital property in a divorce case according to the doctrine of community property.  This means that the court awards half of the marital property to each spouse, regardless of how much income each spouse earned during the marriage or how much debt each spouse incurred.  This all seems reasonable when the couple was married for decades, but what about whirlwind marriages where the parties marry and divorce within a span of three years?  Can your ex-spouse really take half of your property if they dumped you at a point in the marriage when many couples are still sending thank you cards to wedding guests?  Yes, but only half of the property that you earned during the marriage; everything that you owned before the marriage still belongs to you.  If you were married for a year, during which your spouse did not work, your spouse is entitled to half of your money for that year.  Likewise, if you bought a house during your brief marriage, your spouse is entitled to half of the value of the house.  A San Jose divorce lawyer can help high net worth couples resolve property disputes related to divorce after a brief marriage.

The Wife Who Refinanced the Marital Home Without Her Husband’s Knowledge

The time between when Irma and Leon married until when they filed for divorce was only 27 months, and Leon was stationed in Japan with the U.S. Navy for much of that time.  Despite the brevity of their marriage, Irma and Leon acquired a substantial amount of community property.  Shortly after their wedding, they bought a house in Corona; after they separated but before they filed the divorce petition, they agreed that Leon would transfer the title of the house into Irma’s name, and she would compensate him for half of its value.  After he transferred the house to her, she refinanced it without telling him and listed herself and her daughter from a previous marriage as joint owners.  This made the division of marital property during the divorce more complicated.

The couple also bought a house in Murrieta, but they sold it while their divorce was pending.  The parties disagreed over the implications of the fact that Irma had paid the down payment on the house from her separate bank account, a premarital asset.

The third point of contention was an Oriental rug, which Leon estimated was worth $3,500.  He asked Irma to return the rug during the divorce, but she said that she had thrown it away after her dogs ruined it.  He then asked her to compensate him for its value.

Let Us Help You Today

A San Jose divorce lawyer can help you sort out disputes over the property you and your spouse acquired during the short time you were together.  Contact Foster Hsu for help today.

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