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You can seek more, even in a community property state

Your spouse just came to you and explained that they no longer want to be married. You've been blindsided by this, since you thought everything was fine. Both of you work regularly, but you were still spending time together and seemed to get along well. You suspect there is more to your spouse seeking divorce than just being unhappy with you, but at the end of the day, your biggest concern is just to get out of the divorce intact.

Your finances have not been mixed much during your marriage. You and your spouse worked your own high-paying jobs, so you both had your own accounts. Now, based on California's laws, your bank accounts, home and other assets could all be split 50-50. You're not happy with that, since you have always paid your half but have far more in savings than your spouse, since you chose not to spend as often as they did.

What should you do?

One option is to talk to your attorney about not splitting your property equally. While California law does require a 50-50 split if you go to court, this isn't the case if you can negotiate and resolve your case outside court. Additionally, since your spouse decided that they want to divorce, they may be happy to negotiate to make the divorce go smoothly and help them move on with their life.

One thing you can do first is approach your spouse and ask what they want to do about your property. Many couples are happy to separate items equitably instead of equally. Why? Sentimental value sometimes plays a role in decisions. Other times, one spouse may feel guilty. In other situations, both may do what they feel is fair for their spouse, considering both their financial situations.

In your case, you may want to ask your spouse about going to mediation to talk through an equitable distribution instead of an equal distribution, especially if you believe that an equal distribution wouldn't be fair to you. Many people are reasonable, even after deciding they want to divorce, so that's one possibility that may work for you.

If your spouse wants to split marital property equally, then you can work with your attorney to prove why they should not get half of everything or why you should get more. Good documentation can help, even in a state that generally assigns half of the assets to each party.

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