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Common misconceptions surrounding divorce and property division

There are many things to keep in mind when getting a divorce. California's laws on separation can be lengthy and detailed. Keeping track of how the law applies to things like child custody, spousal support and property division are often a lot to handle. With so much to keep track of, it is no wonder there are so many misconceptions surrounding divorce.

A recent article highlights a few common misunderstandings surrounding divorce. First, while many assume a divorced couple must be physically separated, this is not the case. Getting a divorce does not necessarily means living apart. Instead, obtaining a divorce is really about when the couple decided they could no longer be in a relationship together. The couple can decide on an official date of separation themselves, and such date need not correspond to a date when the couple is no longer living together.

Another myth is that if one party commits adultery, he or she will lose everything in the event of divorce. This is also not the case. California is a no fault state which means that fault is not a relevant aspect to the separation process.

Furthermore, while many California residents might believe that in divorce, the couple has to split assets exactly 50/50, this is also not true. While some couples might want to horse-trade all of their individual assets, what really matters is the couple's net worth. It is this total that is split evenly in the event of divorce.

There is no short list of items with which to keep track during separation. Sometimes the greatest trouble, however, is keeping emotion out of the mix in order to maintain a clear head on the law.

Source: Golden Girl Finance, "5 common money myths about divorce," Paul Sweatman, Aug. 2, 2013.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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