I.CHARACTERIZATION AND THE JUDICIAL POWER TO DIVIDE MARITALPROPERTY
A.Marital Estates And The Division Of Marital Property
The community property system recognizes the spouses' jointownership in assets acquired during marriage. This conceptreflects the societal view of marriage as a partnership to whicheach spouse makes different but equally valuable contributions.A shared mistaken belief among laypersons and attorneys who donot practice family law, is that at the time of divorce,annulment or upon the death of one of the spouses, the courtwill equally divide marital property that the spouses held incommon during the marriage.
This belief arises from the factthat, during the marital relationship, the law regard’s thespouses as equal partners in all the property that was acquiredthrough their talents and labors during the marriage.
1.Key terms definedAccordingly, claims for economic contribution and/orreimbursement arise at the time spouses decide to end theirmarriage or upon the death of one of the spouses. Before thecourt can hear a claim for either reimbursement or economiccontribution, the marital property must be characterized.
Thereare three estates that the court will look in making thedivision of the community, the community estate and the separate