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

Getting divorced is no one’s idea of happily ever after when they get married. However, divorce is a process that you and your spouse will need to work through if your marriage is no longer sustainable. Whether your divorce is amicable or contentious, it is critical to know what you may be entitled to by law in California. That way, you and your Los Angeles divorce attorney can fight for the case outcome that you deserve.

Wives Get Half the Marital Assets Under California Law

 The two main legal doctrines when it comes to dividing property in a divorce case are community property and equitable division. California is a community property state, meaning if a divorce case goes to court, a judge will divide all marital assets down the middle in a 50/50 split. 

A wife will be entitled to half of all marital property, whether or not this is fair and equitable – including assets and income the husband contributed during the marriage. California law sees each marriage as its own community. All property and assets (as well as debt) acquired by one spouse during the course of the marriage are acquired by the community in the eyes of the law.

The only property that a wife will not be entitled to is separate property – assets or income that the husband owned individually before the marriage, as well as any gifts or inheritance given specifically to the husband during the marriage.

Wives Get Child Support if They Are Awarded Primary or Sole Custody

Child custody is not automatically given to a wife or mother in a divorce case in California. Both spouses get equal consideration when it comes to a custody decision. Ultimately, a child custody arrangement organized by a judge will suit the child’s best interests based on the specific circumstances. 

Joint custody agreements are generally preferred, as the courts believe a child fares best with continuing contact with both parents after a divorce. With joint custody, one parent may become the primary custodian. This parent will have a higher percentage of physical custody or parenting time. If a wife is given primary custody (or sole custody), she most likely will also be entitled to child support payments from the husband. 

Child support is awarded in some divorces if it is necessary to ensure that both parents support the child financially in equal measure. A child support determination considers factors such as each parent’s income, how many children the parents share, childcare-related expenses and the parents’ custody arrangement. 

Wives Can Get Alimony (Spousal Support) in Some Cases

Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is not automatically included in a divorce case in California. This court-ordered payment from one spouse to the other is only awarded when a lower-earning spouse needs to receive continuing financial support from the higher earner to maintain his or her standard of living. If the lower earner is the wife, she may qualify for alimony payments from the husband.

However, alimony is not only reserved for wives; a husband can receive spousal support if he made less than the wife during their marriage. The factors considered by a judge when making a support order include the length of the marriage, how much money each person needs to sustain the same standard of living, how much each spouse can afford to pay, and whether the lower earner gave up job opportunities to take care of the children or household.

Every divorce case in California is unique. For personalized legal advice about your specific case, contact Boyd Law to request a free initial consultation.