You want to divide your property fairly, but you don’t love the idea of an equal division of your assets. You’ve worked the entire time you’ve been married, and your spouse didn’t. You provided for them, even though they were capable of working themselves. You feel frustrated by the idea that you could lose half of everything you’ve put into this life all because of the state’s laws.
Before you get too upset, it’s important to talk to your attorney about showing which property is separate and which should be considered as marital. The more you can show as private, separate property, the less marital property there will be to divide.
For example, think about the vehicle you brought with you into your marriage. That’s probably separate property. Any inheritance you received may be, too, so long as you didn’t mix it in with your shared accounts.
What happens after you find all your separate or marital property?
After you determine what is or is not marital property, you can take a look at your marital assets. The law requires a 50-50 split, but if that is truly unfair, you may be able to argue it. Property division is normally adjustable outside court, so you may be able to negotiate with your spouse to reduce the amount they receive. They may know that they contributed less or agree to take less if they can leave with something in particular that they want.
This is something to discuss with them and with your attorney. Being in a community property state won’t necessarily bind you to a 50-50 split if you can come up with a different agreement.