Equal Division of Community Property
This statute is one of the basic premises of California community property laws. Family court judges MUST divide the community estate equally as between the parties, although this doesn't mean that a specific asset must be cut in half - so to speak. Instead, it means that in terms of the overall marital balance sheet that there must be an equal division of all assets and liabilities. One party can therefore be awarded the whole (or entire) interest in a particular asset, but only so long as the other party's right to reimbursement or an equalization payment is honored.
CALIFORNIA FAMILY CODE
DIVISION OF PROPERTY
Family Code Section 2550
Except upon the written agreement of the parties, or on oral stipulation of the parties in open court, or as otherwise provided in this division, in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the parties, the court shall, either in its judgment of dissolution of the marriage, in its judgment of legal separation of the parties, or at a later time if it expressly reserves jurisdiction to make such a property division, divide the community estate of the parties equally.