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Unmarried California Couples Cannot Take Advantage of Community Property Laws When Dividing Property

Unmarried California Couples Cannot Take Advantage of Community Property Laws When Dividing Property

When a married couple gets a divorce in California, any property obtained during that marriage is subject to community property laws. This requires that all property is divided 50% to each party. When an unmarried couple has property such as homes and cars, the rules are not that simple. If you are in this situation then your best option is to contact a family law attorney for a consultation. You can also keep reading to get the basic information about these cases.

Cohabitating Couples Are Treated as Roommates by the Law

The law essentially treats couples like they do roommates – each member has full ownership of their own property. On paper this is simple but in reality it is far from simple. After all, most couples have many items they bought together. This may even include expensive things like homes and cars. It is these cases in which determining property rights can be a challenge.

Consider less expensive items too, such as bedding, towels, TVs, and other household items. If they were bought for joint use they are jointly owned – but how are they then divided up? Your attorney will help you determine the answer to that question.

Splitting Up Cars and Houses After a Breakup

Believe it or not, cars and house can be easier to split up than other goods for one main reason: They come with ownership papers. It may be hard to prove that you are half owner of the kitchen table, but if you are half owner of the house or car, then your name should be on the deed or title. If the property has a sole owner then that owner will get the property.

If you are both on the deed or title then you likely fall under the legal category of “tenancy in common.” This means that both of you would keep your share of the property based on what you agreed to or who paid for it. For example, if you paid for 75% of the car then you would own 75%.

You cannot cut a car in halves or quarters, so you will need to do one of two things. First, you can sell all your joint property and split the proceeds based on the percentage of ownership each had. Second, you can split up the belongings based on their value. For example, if the items you jointly owned were worth $10,000 and you each had 50% ownership, then you would each take items worth $5,000.

You Need the Right Attorney for Your Property Rights Case

Just because you were not married does not mean you do not need an attorney when you split up. In fact, not being married may mean that it is more complicated and an attorney is even more important. You can contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 to request a free legal consultation.


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My ex-wife hired an attorney which prompted me to do so for our divorce. Torrence Howell was highly recommended from a friend of mine who used Torrence’s services for a divorce just like mine. The results came out much better than he ever thought it would. With all things being equal I felt Torrence would

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