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What Am I Entitled to in a California Divorce?

Each divorce is unique to that couple's circumstances, so if you're looking for a quick and easy way to tell you what you'll get in your divorce, it's best to stop now. Of course, everyone still wants to know what they’re entitled to, and we agree that it’s an important aspect of the divorce process.

Property division laws can get complex quickly, and you want to make sure that you are getting your fair share of assets in your settlement. The best way to do this is with a skilled attorney and by having a basic understanding of your rights.

Our La Jolla family lawyer at Dan McCandless Law is breaking down what you can expect from a California divorce.

Asset Division

California is a community property state, which means that all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are equally owned by both parties and they must be divided equally. Anything you acquired prior to your marriage will remain legally yours even after your divorce.

Examples of community property may include:

  • Homes and real estate investments

  • 401k and retirement accounts

  • Stocks and investment accounts

  • Art and valuable collectibles

  • The value of a business during the marriage

These assets can be divided in a number of ways, depending on the wishes of each party. For example, if you and your spouse purchased a home during your marriage, you can sell it and split the proceeds.


Unlike child custody, alimony or spousal support is not an automatic part of the divorce process. It must be requested by one party, but there are some factors to consider. For instance, alimony typically will not be granted to couples who have only been together for a short period of time. There’s also a misconception that alimony agreements only favor the woman, which is untrue. California’s spousal support laws exist to ensure that both spouses can continue a standard of living for a set amount of time. The court’s goal is to create an arrangement that’s fair to both parties.

Child Support

Parents have an obligation to provide financial support to their minor children, and so, child support is often ordered in the final divorce decree. Using California’s guidelines, the courts will look at varying factors, such as income, number of children, the relationship between parent and child, to determine the amount. In many joint custody situations, the non-custodial parent will pay the custodial parent child support, though it varies for each situation. 

Ultimately, what you receive in your divorce boils down to what you can negotiate and the lawyer that you choose to represent you.

Contact us online or call (858) 266-9171 to schedule your consultation with our top-rated San Diego divorce attorney.