California is a community property state
Community property is all property acquired during the marriage except for gifts or inheritances. All earnings during marriage and everything acquired with those earnings are community assets. Similarly, all debt incurred during the marriage, no matter which party incurred the debt, is a community obligation and is generally subject to equal division upon dissolution of the marriage.
How title is taken on property or under whose name a debt is held is not the controlling factor in whether or not the property/debt is community or separate property.
Property can have mixed ownership, part community and part separate.Parties can, for example, own a car in one party’s name alone, yet the car is still community property. A credit card can be in one party’s name, yet that obligation is a joint obligation under community property laws.
Property that was owned prior to the marriage can be changed to community or co-owned property under some circumstances.
Similarly, property acquired during marriage can become separate property of one of the parties under some circumstances. Property can change ownership, for example, if separate property is so commingled or mixed with community property that you can no longer trace the separate property it becomes community property.
Divorce Property Division Rules and Exceptions
There are many rules and exceptions to classification and division of property is a dissolution of marriage and absolutely requires an experienced family law attorney to assist you in determining what is community, what is separate property, whether or not you have reimbursement or tracing issues.