What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in California?

06Apr, 24

There are many stressors for spouses who are beginning the process of a divorce, both financial and emotional. The divorce process requires the division of assets, decisions about spousal support, and determinations for child custody and support if minor children are involved. Women who are getting a divorce may wonder: what is a wife entitled to in a divorce in California? It’s crucial to understand each aspect of a divorce agreement and what each spouse is entitled to.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that divorces are much more financially harmful to women than to men. When women understand what they are entitled to in a divorce, it can help them get the financial support and resources they are owed. A Corona divorce attorney can help women getting a divorce to protect their rights and successfully begin the next chapter of their lives.

Division of Property

In California, assets are divided based on community property law. Unlike other states, the court does not alter how property is divided based on the specific marriage. Instead, the court will always split marital assets equally, regardless of other factors. The only way for spouses to have a division of marital property that isn’t 50/50 is to either have a marital agreement or negotiate the separation outside court.

This means that a wife is entitled to half the marital property if the court makes those decisions. In California, marital property refers to almost all assets and debts a couple obtains during the course of the marriage. Some exceptions to this are gifts or inheritance gifted to one spouse, as this is considered separate property.

Separate property, or property gained before marriage and after the date of separation, is not up for division. A wife is entitled to all of her own separate property.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also called alimony, is not always awarded in a divorce. This means that neither party is automatically entitled to these payments. The court will consider certain factors to determine if either spouse is entitled to support. Long-term spousal support is the type of alimony in California that is awarded with the final divorce court order and continues after the divorce case.

The court is more likely to award long-term spousal support when the income difference between spouses is significant, or the marriage lasted for many years. The court looks at the following factors when determining how much support will be awarded and for how long:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Income and earning capacity of each spouse
  • Either spouse’s contributions to the other’s career or education
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Separate property and debt of each spouse
  • Needs of a spouse requesting support
  • Ability of a spouse to pay support
  • Tax implications
  • History of abuse
  • Impact of caring for children on either party’s career

The goal of spousal support is for the supported spouse to eventually become self-supporting.

Child Custody and Support

When a divorce involves children, child custody and support are essential parts of the divorce.

Both parents have an equal right to child custody. A wife does not have automatic entitlement to custody, but she does have the right to request a custody arrangement. The court will always assign child custody based on the child’s interests, and California does not have a legal preference for any custody arrangement. The court looks at factors like the child’s age and health, the relationship between parents and child, and the parent’s ability to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs.

Both parents have a legal responsibility to provide financial support for their child. The court will review several factors when determining what a fair child support order is, including each parent’s income, parenting time with children, and the costs of raising a child. The parent with primary custody and/or the parent who makes less income is typically the party that receives child support payments.


Q: How Long Do You Have to Be Married in California to Get Half of Everything?

A: There is no amount of time a couple has to be married to get half of the marital property. California is a community property state, which means each spouse is entitled to half of their marital property during the division of assets. This is true regardless of the length of their marriage. Unlike other states, California courts do not consider any outside factors about the marriage when splitting marital property. To split the marital property in a different way, couples must negotiate their property division outside of court.

Q: What Are My Rights as a Wife in a Divorce in California?

A: A wife in a divorce in California has the following rights:

  • The right to half the marital assets and debt jointly owned by the couple
  • The right to request spousal support or alimony
  • The right to exercise parental rights, including requesting child custody
  • The right to provide or receive child support

When spouses get their divorce in court, these rights are protected by the court. If a couple negotiates their separation agreement, spouses may agree on an unequal division of marital assets and debts but typically cannot waive child support. An attorney can help you resolve the division of your property outside of court while ensuring you are not taken advantage of during the process.

Q: Who Gets the House in a Divorce in California?

A: A house in a divorce in California is generally considered community property. This means that each spouse has equal rights to it before the property is divided. This can be handled in several ways. Spouses may sell the house and split the profits, or one spouse may receive the house and offer an equal value of other marital assets to the other spouse.

Spouses can also avoid community property laws by negotiating an agreement through mediation, enabling them to have more control over property division. If the agreement is fair, the court will approve it.

Q: Can I Get Half of My Husband’s Pension in a Divorce in California?

A: You could get half of your husband’s pension in a divorce in California because pensions and retirement benefits are considered marital property. Marital property is divided equally between spouses during in-court property division. This may not always mean all assets are divided perfectly in half, but each spouse has an equal claim. If a couple has an existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or a couple does not divide their property in court, retirement benefits may be divided differently.

Finding a Skilled Divorce Attorney

A divorce is a difficult and frequently overwhelming time of your life. Get the guidance and support you need by contacting Law Offices of Michelanne Hrubic.

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