Real Property Division Pursuant to Divorce or Legal Separation
In California, whose name appears on the deed is the beginning of the inquiry, not the end of the story. There is often a significant community property interest in real property even if it was purchased prior to marriage and title is held as the "sole and separate property" of one of the parties. Likewise, there is often a significant separate property right to reimbursement in real property - even if it was purchased during marriage and title held as "Husband and Wife, as Community Property". When parties hold joint title prior to marriage, and one paid more of the expenses (including the interest on the mortgage) prior to marriage, that party may be entitled to an accounting that results in a significant reimbursment of monies expended on the property prior to marriage.
There are several presumptions concerning real property. If the property is held by the parties in joint form, for example, it is presumed to be community property. To learn more about community property and separate property interests in your real property, we will need to examine the history of the property.