Must couples divide only their joint properties after getting divorce?
If the man buys a house or a car after marriage in his name, or has bank accounts or investments in his name, must he give 50% of all his property to his wife as well?
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Yes - property acquired during marriage by either spouse, under most circumstances, becomes community property in CA. It is generally split 50/50 in divorce by action of law. It doesn’t matter who earned it or in whose name it is in. An exception can be money inherited by one spouse or gifted to one spouse. However those assets, like assets acquired before marriage, can become community property if they are commingled with community property.
The main exception would be a valid prenuptial agreement that provides otherwise.
In France, it depends on what goods regime the marriage was established. There are three regimes : separate goods (which means that the spouses' properties are and remain their own), shared goods (their properties are merged and anything they acquire afterwards is shared-property too), and acquired-shared goods (their properties at the time of the marriage remain separated, but anything they acquire afterwards is shared property).
When a divorce happens, only goods that are shared are divvied up among the two spouses, in a proportion decided by the judge.