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“Though the court is required to equally divide community property assets and liabilities, there are several exceptions to this rule, including: (1) personal injury damages; (2) community estates having a value of less than $5,000 where default proceedings are taken against a spouse who cannot be located; (3) estates having a negative value; (4) educational loans; (5) deliberately misappropriated assets.”

“As a general rule, money and other property received or to be received by a married person in satisfaction of a judgment for damages for personal injuries, or pursuant to an agreement for the settlement or compromise of a claim for such damages, is community property if the cause of action for the damages arose during the marriage. [Fam. Code, § 780] However, in the division of community property, community estate personal injury damages must be assigned to the party who suffered the injuries unless the court, after taking into account the economic condition and needs of each party, the time that has elapsed since the recovery of the damages or the accrual of the cause of action, and all other facts of the case, determines that the interests of justice require another disposition. [Fam. Code, § 2603, subd. (b)] The court may consider the length of the marriage following the injuries, the effect of the injuries on the non-injured spouse, and whether or not a major portion or the entirety of the award is necessary to make the injured spouse whole. [In re Marriage of Jackson, 212 Cal. App. 3d 479, 260 Cal. Rptr. 508 (4th Dist. 1989)]”

“The community estate personal injury damages will be assigned to the respective parties in such proportions as the court determines to be just, except that at least one-half of the damages must be assigned to the party who suffered the injuries. [Fam. Code, § 2603, subd. (b)] This is an express exception to the equal division mandate of Fam. Code § 2550. [In re Marriage of Morris, 139 Cal. App. 3d 823, 189 Cal. Rptr. 80 (4th Dist. 1983)] Accordingly, the non-injured spouse is not entitled to an award of an asset or assets equaling the amount of the community property damages that have been awarded to the injured spouse. [In re Marriage of Mason, 93 Cal. App. 3d 215, 155 Cal. Rptr. 350 (5th Dist. 1979)] Sums received in settlement of an uninsured motorist’s claim are treated in the same fashion even though the premiums on the insurance policy have been paid with community property. [In re Marriage of Jackson, 212 Cal. App. 3d 479, 260 Cal. Rptr. 508 (4th Dist. 1989)] Further, when marital property is divided, an asset purchased with funds that can be traced to community property personal injury damages are to be awarded to the injured spouse in the same manner as personal injury damages. [In re Marriage of Devlin, 138 Cal. App. 3d 804, 189 Cal. Rptr. 1 (3d Dist. 1982)]”

“If the net value of a community estate is less than $5,000 and one party cannot be located through the exercise of reasonable diligence, the court may award the entirety of the community estate to the other party on conditions the court deems proper. [Fam. Code, § 2604] Because of the size of the estates, there are no appellate court cases on this section. It is unclear whether the statute applies only if the party cannot be personally served with the summons, or if it also applies if a party simply does not respond following service. It has been suggested that, at a minimum, a showing should be made that the party cannot be found at the date the property is to be awarded.”

“To the extent that community debts exceed total community and quasi-community assets, the excess of debt will be assigned as the court deems just and equitable, taking into account factors such as the parties’ relative ability to pay. [Fam. Code, § 2622; In re Marriage of Vanderbeek, 177 Cal. App. 3d 224, 222 Cal. Rptr. 832 (2d Dist. 1986); In re Marriage of Eastis, 47 Cal. App. 3d 459, 120 Cal. Rptr. 861 (4th Dist. 1975)] Community property personal injury damages were intended to be an exception to this statute. [In re Marriage of Jacobson, 161 Cal. App. 3d 465, 207 Cal. Rptr. 512 (2d Dist. 1984)]”

“Community contributions to education or training are payments made with community or quasi-community property for education or training or for the repayment of a loan incurred for education or training, whether the payments were made while the parties were state residents or not. [Fam. Code, § 2641, subd. (a)] Loans incurred during the course of marriage for the education or training of one of the parties are not included among liabilities of the community for purposes of division, but must be assigned to the party obtaining the education. [Fam. Code, § 2641, subd. (b)(2)]”

“As an additional award or offset against existing property, the court may award, from a party’s share, the amount the court determines to have been deliberately misappropriated by the party to the exclusion of the interest of the other party in the community estate. [Fam. Code, § 2602] The term “deliberate misappropriation” means calculated thievery by a spouse, and does not include mere mishandling of assets. [In re Marriage of Partridge, 226 Cal. App. 3d 120, 276 Cal. Rptr. 8 (3d Dist. 1990); In re Marriage of Schultz, 105 Cal. App. 3d 846, 164 Cal. Rptr. 653 (2d Dist. 1980)] Once the court determines that the misappropriation was intentional, the misappropriating party may be charged whether or not the funds or assets are still in existence. [In re Marriage of Economou, 224 Cal. App. 3d 1466, 274 Cal. Rptr. 473 (3d Dist. 1990)] Cases of deliberate misappropriation include: (1) Gifts by one’s spouse to a third party. [In re Marriage of Hopkins, 74 Cal. App. 3d 591, 141 Cal. Rptr. 597 (2d Dist. 1977) (amount of money husband placed in joint account with his name and son’s name was charged to husband)]; (2) Gambling losses. [In re Marriage of Cairo, 204 Cal. App. 3d 1255, 251 Cal. Rptr. 731 (1st Dist. 1988) (obligations incurred on credit cards to allow husband to gamble assigned to husband alone)]; (3) Criminal conduct causing a loss of community property. [See In re Marriage of Beltran, 183 Cal. App. 3d 292, 227 Cal. Rptr. 924 (1st Dist. 1986) (husband convicted of serious felony that resulted in dismissal from Army and loss of all military benefits, including pension and accrued leave; husband charged with receipt of the community portion of forfeited pension and accrued leave)]; (4) Intentional improper management of community business. [In re Marriage of Czapar, 232 Cal. App. 3d 1308, 285 Cal. Rptr. 479 (4th Dist. 1991) (husband charged with amount of salary paid to his girlfriend from company business, gifts made to alma mater, and purchase of Porsche when a company car was available)]; (5) Funds removed immediately prior to filing a dissolution. [Williams v. Williams, 14 Cal. App. 3d 560, 92 Cal. Rptr. 385 (2d Dist. 1971) (husband charged with funds removed immediately prior to filing for dissolution of marriage to extent that funds could not be accounted for as community property expenditures)]; and (6) Use of community property for separate property purposes. [In re Marriage of Walter, 57 Cal. App. 3d 802, 129 Cal. Rptr. 351 (1st Dist. 1976) (husband charged with amount of community funds expended for payment of mortgage and taxes on his separate property)].”

“Community property that remains undivided following a proceeding under the Family Code continues to be owned jointly by the parties as tenants in common. [Henn v. Henn, 26 Cal. 3d 323, 161 Cal. Rptr. 502, 605 P.2d 10 (1980)] In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of marriage, or for legal separation of the parties, the court has continuing jurisdiction to award community estate assets or community estate liabilities to the parties that have not been previously adjudicated by a judgment in the proceeding. [Fam. Code, § 2556] A party may file a postjudgment motion or order to show cause in the proceeding in order to obtain adjudication of any community estate asset or liability omitted or not adjudicated by the judgment. In these cases, the court shall equally divide the omitted or unadjudicated community estate asset or liability, unless the court finds upon good cause shown that the interests of justice require an unequal division of the asset or liability. [Fam. Code, § 2556]”

[California Civil Practice Family Law Litigation [certain citations omitted]]

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