Is Foreign-Held Property Subject To Division In California?

Best Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmOne of the biggest headaches of divorce is property and asset division. Although California has strict guidelines for marital and separate property, it still becomes confusing as to which property belongs where. A clear distinction is that property that was purchased during marriage becomes marital property and property which belongs to an individual becomes separate property.

For foreign held property, it becomes a matter of state laws and the country or state where the property is located. California is a community property state and property and assets are divided equally between both parties. However, it may not always work for foreign held properties because California laws may not be applicable in other states or countries.

Community property

Foreign properties can be treated as community properties if you purchased them while you were in California. In that case, it will be treated either as marital or separate property depending upon when the property was purchased and under whose name was it purchased. California laws apply to you and your property and it is difficult to say whether the state or country will interfere with such laws. In most cases, it shouldn’t be a problem and you can treat your foreign property in the same way as you would treat other properties.

Quasi-community property

If the property was purchased in a foreign location while you were out-of-state, it is generally treated as quasi-community property. In such a case, California laws may not be able to reach the state or country where the property is located and must be treated with care. It’s best to work with an experienced divorce lawyer for such cases because often, things become complicated.


The question of how foreign property gets divided depends more on the individuals involved than the property itself. Also, the place from where the individual purchased the property also matters a lot. If the property was purchased when the individual stayed in California, it will be treated as a community property. Else, it will be treated as a quasi-community property. In either case, it’s a good idea to sit with a divorce lawyer experienced at handling foreign property disputes and settle out things like property, finance and debt division in foreign locations.

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