California has long been known as a state where marital property is divided evenly, not equitably. While the majority of states in the U.S. use equitable division, California's laws require that two people who have been married divide all marital property down the middle.
It doesn't make sense to some people that community property laws would still be in place. After all, many couples both work and invest in their marriages. Some may invest more money or more time, while others may do less. Wouldn't it make sense to do everything equitably?
Not really. In many ways, guaranteeing an even split is the best way to keep things fair. For example, think about a woman who stays home to raise her children. She may not financially invest into the family, but she is there and working hard. She's providing a service and doing her part in the relationship. In a community property state, she'll be entitled to half of the marital estate, even though she didn't work for a period of time. That may not be the case in an equitable distribution state.
Of course, there is a downside to community property, and that's the possibility of one person taking advantage of the situation to get more out of the marriage than what they put in. For instance, someone who was married for a year may suddenly have access to many high-value assets if their spouse earns a lot of money. If they did not work or do anything to invest in the marriage, then it may seem very unfair to allow them to take half of the marital estate.
Every case is different. Your attorney can help you with your community property case, so you can divide your properly in a way that is legal and, hopefully, fair.