As a young couple going through a divorce, you may have a relatively simple divorce on your hands. You have few assets, and you don’t have children. This makes your official split much easier.

However, there are still things you need to do to make sure you get all that you deserve out of your marriage. Even if you’ve only been married two or three years, there are shared assets that you can divide. Additionally, thanks to California’s community property laws, you’re entitled to half of everything that is considered to be marital property.

What are some common assets to divide in short-term marriages?

Even in short marriages, you may have some major assets to divide, including:

  • Real estate, like your first home together
  • Shared bank account funds
  • Stocks or bonds
  • Retirement accounts
  • 401(k) accounts
  • Student debts
  • Credit debts

Remember, you divide not only the positive assets but also debts.

Is it better to settle equitably in a short-term marriage?

It isn’t necessarily better or worse. Everyone’s situation is different, so you need to sit down and discuss the assets you have and what’s fair. If your husband, for example, has worked for 10 years and earned a large amount of money in his retirement accounts, it would likely be fair to pay you a fair share of that money, not necessarily half.

Similarly, if you move into a home that was already purchased, it might be considered marital property since it was used for the family. However, fairness would potentially make it so that you would receive a portion of the home’s value, not half of the equity or profits from the home’s sale.

Of course, as someone in a community property state, you’re in a good position to seek out half of all the marital assets regardless of the length of your marriage. This can be beneficial for you, but it may draw out the length of your divorce if you and the other party can’t come to a settlement agreement.

What should you do if you can’t agree on a settlement?

If you can’t agree on a settlement, remember that the judge can make a decision for you. However, in that case, 50 percent of the assets and debts are likely to go to each party. Normally, settling outside court gives you more options, which is what people like to have to preserve their best interests.